There’s Nothing Like a Good Workout Followed By a Great Massage
Two of the most popular and most beneficial health and wellness practices include both yoga and massage. So, it makes sense that you’d want to use them both together to help achieve your goals. If your instinct is telling you to combine them, you should definitely trust it.
Yoga and massage are actually quite similar than you might imagine if you’re not as familiar with one or the other. Both practices detoxify and oxygenate your body by boosting blood flow, both can improve flexibility and your range of motion, and both are fantastic for dealing with stress.
In fact, yoga is in part the moving act of self-massage in a lot of ways thanks to the positions associated with it. The twisting, bending, and folding that takes place during yoga help to massage the internal organs, making it a wonderful way to gently encourage their healthy function.
But yoga is also a lot more than just twisting and stretching. As some of the more advanced practitioners can attest to, yoga can be quite the workout- with strengthening and muscle-building activities consistently involved. If you don’t think so, just picture having to transition from a shoulder stand to a plank to a backbend in one smooth motion.
Since you can get quite the workout from yoga, massage has an even greater impact when you think about all the ways it can help you recover and improve quicker.
What Can Massage Do to Aid Your Yoga Workout?
Whenever you work out, muscle inflammation will be a part of how the body seeks to regain balance. To trigger a type of physiological response that makes you stronger and assists the muscle tissue to recover following exercise a certain level of inflammation is required. However, too much can slow down the natural repair process.
The immune system creates some level of inflammation to repair an illness or injury. When it gets too high it can cause damage to healthy muscle tissue, which can in turn lead to additional aches and pains. Even worse, if you go back at it before your body has had time to heal it can cause more swelling, dramatically hindering your workout efforts.
The Recovery Process
So for your body to recover, you need a careful balance between recovery and exercise. As you develop your abilities in your yoga practice, the goal is typically to be able to accomplish more and more difficult positions and be able to achieve those positions for longer than a few seconds. In order to do so, you need to take time following your workout to allow the body to heal itself and create the strength and flexibility needed to achieve those new positions. So, what can you do to aid in that?
Research into massage has shown that just ten minutes right after a workout can affect two genes in the muscle cells. One lessens the inflammation caused by exercising in a similar way to taking an anti-inflammatory medication. The other showed the creation of mitochondria, which are considered the powerhouses of cells. They use the broken down products of food and oxygen to produce energy that the cells require. As your muscles become used to your workout, the number of these cells goes up, and a massage works to speed this process along.
Other studies have shown that a massage chair helps address sore muscles similar to the effects of anti-inflammatory medication or hot/cold therapy, working to minimize swelling. But unlike anti-inflammatory medication, a massage also speeds up the muscle tissue recovery process. Hopping in your massage chair right after a workout can be beneficial to not only the recovery process, but your progress as well.
How Do I Combine Yoga & Massage?
By simply having massage and yoga both present in your overall wellness routine, you’re off to a great start. However, you may be wondering about the advantages of practicing the two in tandem, and what sequence is best. Yoga then massage or vice versa? The answer depends on your goals.
Getting a Massage Before Yoga
Getting a massage before you practice yoga can get your blood flowing to your muscles, lengthening the outer layer of muscles and connective tissue, and allowing you to settle more deeply into the asanas.
A massage warms your muscles and “pre-stretches” them, in a way, so you’ll be better able to stretch and hold the poses longer. Tension-relieving, focus-inducing massage can also make it easier to remain present and focused during your yoga session, allowing yoga’s meditative effects to better help you.
Since massage allows you to basically stretch the muscles and warming them up, you can experience more flexibility which can equal a more effective workout. It can also assist you to mentally and emotionally prepare for your workout as well. The benefits of a pre-workout massage can include:
- Lower anxiety and stress
- Minimized muscle tension
- Beter mental focus
- Encourages relaxation
- Better flexibility
You will want to be very mindful of your body’s sensitivity when pairing massage and yoga this way. Very intense types of massage, like deep tissue or sports massage, will require you to take time to recover afterward. That means jumping right into a yoga practice could be very uncomfortable and cost you some of the benefits of both, even causing pain and worse post-workout soreness. A gentler technique, like a Swedish massage, will be better suited to pre-yoga prepping because it is designed for warming, lengthening, and relaxing the outer layers of your muscles.
And always, always listen to your body during your post-massage yoga practice. Or any practice for that matter. Start gently. If the massage seems to have energized you and made it easier to get into some of the positions, that’s great. However, if you feel tender or sore, respond compassionately and tone it down or take a break. Remember, that age-old adage of “no pain, no gain” is actually quite harmful. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right. Listen to it and slow down.
Massage, while invigorating, can also be extremely calming. So if you feel too relaxed and blissed out to try something challenging, don’t. Now you know how your body responds to massage before your routine and can change how you use massage in the future.
Getting a Massage After Yoga
Similar to how you can help your body to capitalize on the benefits of both massage and yoga when you get in your chair before your work out, you can also do this by hopping in after.
When using massage, after your yoga routine, you’ll benefit significantly from the massage’s reduction of lactic acid buildup that occurs in the muscles following exercise. By doing so, you’ll be able to recover faster from your workout and potentially with less soreness as well. If you employ a deep tissue or sport massage program that targets deeper connective tissue and fascia, it will encourage your freshly stretched muscles to remain at their increased length, extending and compounding the benefits of your yogic practice.
When you want to enjoy maximum relaxation from your yoga routine on through your massage session, then this is definitely the sequence you want. A calming massage following your yoga practice can be an incredibly relaxing experience. By joining the calming, stress-relieving advantages of both, especially when you use a massage program designed specifically for relaxation like sleep, rest, or stretch, you’ll see that they can be an exceptional remedy for anyone who needs help finding a sense of calm. It can be especially wonderful if you’re doing this before bed.
As we talked about earlier, when you enjoy your massage chair right after a workout, it can assist to reduce inflammation and speed up the muscle tissue recovery. And in order to truly experience the effects of a post-workout massage session, you’ll need to get in the chair within twenty minutes of finishing your workout. This is why the combination of an at-home yoga practice with a massage chair works so well.
Studies have show that a massage following your workout can reduce muscle soreness by as much as 30%. Even just a five-minute massage following a workout can:
- Reduce delayed onset muscle soreness
- Alleviate stress
- Decrease your blood pressure
- Encourage relaxation
- Improve mood
- Lessen inflammation
- Increase energy
How Often Should I use My Massage Chair After Working Out?
You can use your massage chair after your workout from anywhere between five to twenty minutes, or right before your workout. Keep in mind that for a pre-workout massage you’ll want to choose a gentle massage program in order to stave off muscle tightness and soreness.
For a post-workout massage, we suggest using a deep tissue program. Shiatsu chairs like those by D.Core provide an especially deep tissue massage experience. They were even named for them- the D standing for Deep. Additionally, the Panasonic MAJ7 and Brio Sport massage chairs also provide a deep tissue, recovery style massage.
Deep tissue massages are best option for after a workout because they can stimulate the muscles, increase circulation, and help to work out any tension in the muscles. A nice rub down after a challenging routine can feel pretty amazing and can also assist your body to reduce its chances of suffering from DOMS the next day or two after.
However, you should keep in mind that if you’re new to a massage chair, you’ll need to follow a few different guidelines for the first few weeks. You can read about getting started with you massage chair here. And you can find guidance on how often you should be using your chair in general here.
What is DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?
Delayed onset muscle soreness, aka DOMS, is the experience of muscle weakness and pain that typically starts the day after a challenging workout. DOMS is usually at its worst about two days after the workout. While over time, DOMS should reduce and your recovery should get better as your muscles get used to your workout, it can be incredibly uncomfortable in the beginning. So much so that you may never want to try that routine again.
Delayed onset muscle soreness is the result of microscopic tears in muscle tissue. As the muscles heal the pain goes away. When we try new exercises or push our bodies too hard or fast, these microscopic tears can develop. While some people may think that DOMS, or that pain for your gain, is necessary or even a good sign of a hard workout, it’s not true. Yes, you will be sore when you push yourself to try new things and work to get stronger, however, it in no way should be so bad that you can barely function. That’s pushing it too far.
You can prevent DOMS if you take it easy during a workout and slowly increase the amount of work your having your muscles do or the length of your workouts. A massage chair can also help to make soreness after your workout more manageable by helping your muscles to repair themselves more quickly.
Are Modern Massage Chairs Designed for Users of All Sizes?
Nearly every model of massage chair we sell will work for people of all sizes and heights, particularly models that are equipped with body scanning technology. This feature can help the chair to map your unique size and shape and tailor its massage to those parameters. Additionally, when you’re starting your yogic journey you may not be the “perfect” shape you might think of for a practitioner. Everyone starts somewhere. Don’t let that feeling hold you back. There are chairs and practices that can work for any body type.
Do Massages Affect Muscle Strength?
If you are doing a number of strength poses, it won’t affect it significantly. However, a massage can help to deal with and prevent injuries. At times, a massage might feel a bit uncomfortable or rough, especially if you have a lot of knots that need to be worked out. It can also increase oxygen and improve blood flow in those muscles and decrease lactic acid build-up, minimizing the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness.
This means you can recover quicker after a yoga session, so you can get back to the mat faster. A good massage can release nerve entrapments and trigger points, in addition to realigning muscle fibers and restoring fascial matrix flexibility. So while a massage cannot increase muscle strength, it can allow you to get back to you mat so that you can practice more often.
Do Massages Help Toxins Leave the Body?
A massage can release toxins from muscle tissue in a number of ways by helping the body to produce chemicals that will draw out toxins from the muscles. It can also help blood and lymph to circulate around the body more efficiently. This, in turn, helps get rid of toxins from muscle tissue. Plus, electrical signals in the body focus on the area that’s getting massaged and that manipulation assists to get rid of waste via the lymphatic system.
Can You Customize a Massage Chair Program?
There are typically both program and manual modes available in a massage chair. There are some that are highly adjustable and will allow you to manually choose the massage technique, the length of your massage, the areas the rollers focus on, and the actual speed of the rollers. To learn more about how massage chair techniques, click here to read about the most commonly found options.
What Sounds Best to You?
However you choose to pair your yoga practice with massage, you’re sure to see wonderful benefits from both. Just remember to always pay attention to what your body is telling you and seek guidance from a profession if necessary.
After you finish your yogic session of warriors, chairs, and lots of strength-building for the legs, you’re sure to want a massage on those hardworking muscles. More intense sessions for the arms and back can also require a lot of recovery time. If you’re tired of dealing with muscle soreness, try a massage after your next workout.
As you can see, using your massage chair right before or after your workout can encourage a better session and reduce muscle soreness and inflammation during recovery. In essence, it can make a world of difference in changing how effective your routine is and how good you feel both on and off the mat.
Finished With Your Research?
You can look into the chairs, techniques, and other benefits of massage in the Learning Center on our website, and you’ll be able to see the physical benefits each of the styles offered and what to be prepared for from them.
If you have any questions or are interested in purchasing your first massage chair, check out our Massage Chair Buying Guide or give us a call. You can even reach out through email at email@example.com.
With all this in mind, don’t forget about our financing options. We understand that investing in a massage chair is a big decision, and we want to help make that process as simple and stress-free as possible. Our sales representatives are ready and excited to get you into the perfect chair!