These Massage Types Will Help You Get the Most Out of Your Workout
When working hard to get more fit or pursue a fitness goal, exercise and diet do play huge roles. However, it’s also important to consider the health of your mind and how it interacts with your body. That’s why massage can be such an important part of your journey. So before we dive into which types of massage are best paired with working out, let’s cover the top 10 reasons why you should include massage in your workout regimen.
Lighter massage strokes can help encourage the body to eliminate toxins and lactic acid buildup, which is a prominent side effect of intense training and activity and is the typical cause behind muscle soreness.
2. Stress Relief
Stress is all around us. And especially during a pandemic and the holidays, it’s crucial to find a way to manage that stress so that you stay healthy. Mental health is just as important as our physical health and between our hectic schedules and demanding too much from yourself, it can take a hit pretty regularly. So, take a break and find some peace with a massage. It’s been proven to staunch those rising cortisol levels.
3. Recovery After Exercise
You put your muscles under a great deal of strain when you’re working out hard. For muscle tissue to grow, the fibers have to be broken down first so that the body can move on to building them back bigger and stronger. To achieve this, your tissues need a lot of nutrients and oxygen. Massage has been know to increase circulation, helping nutrient and oxygen-rich blood reach the muscles quicker and easier.
4. Improved Muscle Performance
When muscles are hypertonic they don’t perform at their best. When muscles tighten, they also shorten, which causes an ischemic reaction otherwise called a lack of blood supply to the area. This interferes with muscle performance. Deep tissue massage can assist to break up areas of tension, allowing the muscle fibers to function properly.
5. Better Flexibility
Stretching massage can help boost muscle flexibility. Your joints can also benefit from gaining a bigger range of motion, which can help to minimize future injuries. Fascia, a type of connective tissue that surrounds the muscles and acts as a second skin, can also become more pliable, considerably improving flexibility.
6. Better Circulation
Massage strokes boost the blood supply to muscles by stimulating the area. The extra blood flow allows the crucial nutrients and oxygen to reach the muscles so that the body can build back stronger muscle tissue.
7. Better Sleep
Once you’ve broken down the muscle tissue with intense exercise it needs to repair itself, but when exactly does the body do this? During sleep. This means that quality Zzzs are crucial to achieving your fitness goals. Massage can minimize the amount of tension in the muscles and promote relaxation, allowing you to get that restful sleep that you need.
8. Natural Pain Relief
You never want to push yourself past your physical limits, but if you do injure yourself or if you did overtrain, it can be debilitating. Thankfully, gentle massage can be highly beneficial to your recovery as it can be introduced quite early in the rehabilitation process and aid the muscles in repairing themselves. Additionally, the endorphins released during massage act as natural painkillers.
9. Lowered Hypertonicity
As muscles become overly tight or hypertonic, the chances that you might injure yourself go up. Massage can address those taut bands of muscle, which can improve performance, sleep patterns, and general health. And several chairs allow you to pinpoint areas of the body where you feel especially tight.
10. Improved Ability to Train More & With More Intensity
Massage can help to reduce the effects of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). Thanks to the massage’s ability to break up tense areas, improve circulation which aids in natural detoxification, and promote good sleep, you won’t be as sore for as long. That means you can truly take your training to the next level.
Now, let’s talk about which types of massage work best in your workout routine and which massage chairs will do the best job at delivering that experience.
Percussion Massage For Workouts
Percussion massage has pre and post-workout benefits. While self-care can certainly involve a relaxing Epsom salt bath or a visit to the sauna once you’ve finished your workout, vibrating massage guns take a different approach. And there are some great options on the site.
Yes, they do look a bit like a power drill, but these devices offer a quick alternative to sitting down in a chair or using a foam roller if you can’t do those things. The amount of time you spend on an area and how hard you press down is up to you, which can be great. And it still provides a great way to break up muscle tension.
How percussive therapy works
“Percussive therapy [also known as percussion massage or tapotement] is rapid tapping used to relax tight tissue and promote circulation,” explains Cassie Holzmann, LMT, New York City-based field educator for Equinox Body Lab.
Unlike traditional manual bodywork, handheld massage tools emit repetitive pulses, which provide more consistency of pressure and frequency of percussions per minute, says Holzmann.
The Pre- and Post-Workout Benefits
A percussion therapy device used before your workout can be a great way to get your muscles warmed up, allowing you to get deeper into the muscles much quicker than you could with a foam roller. These types of massage guns, like the Osaki Otamic, get your muscles ready for movement, which can assist to prevent injury and increase your range of motion.
It’s also great after you’re done as well. These devices can help relieve soreness and stiffness and work well with accompanying stretching. These tools can get through the bulk of the taut tissue that has become contracted following a workout and break up any knotty adhesions, promoting circulation and helping with recovery.
Using a Percussion Massage Device
When you don’t have time to hop in a massage chair or if you’re perhaps traveling, personal massagers can be a great option. These devices have become so popular because they are so easy to use on yourself, whether in the locker room or at home.
Before you get started, remember the following:
- Start with a slower speed and lighter intensity. As you get used to it, you can work up to a faster speed, adding more pressure before you increase speed.
- Before working out, go a bit faster up and down each muscle group, targeting tight areas. Once you’re done, stick to a slower speed setting and spend more time slowly relaxing your muscles.
- These devices work best on areas of bigger or thicker muscle. You should avoid bone (like your ankles or knees) and be extra careful around your spine and neck. If you hit a boney area, the device will likely start to jump and it won’t feel great.
- Try to use the head attachments for their specific purpose. Flat head attachments work best on a broader area of dense tissue like your hamstrings and the narrow heads work best on specific trigger points.
Deep Tissue Massage For Workouts
Hitting the gym is an excellent way to improve your health, with plenty of benefits to both your physical and mental wellness. However, with the rise in popularity of workout activities such as powerlifting and CrossFit training, people are putting more stress on their bodies than ever before.
Protein, stretching and hydration are all known parts of an effective cool-down after strenuous exercise, but there is one thing that you might be guilty of frequently missing that can have a significant impact on your muscles ability to heal and repair- deep tissue massage.
What Is Deep Tissue Massage?
At its most foundational level, deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage, with similar techniques and strokes. But with deep tissue massage, you use much more pressure in order to help relieve muscle tension. The deeper pressure targets the deepest layers of muscle tissue, the tendons, and the fascia, which is the protective layer of tissue that surrounds your muscles, bones, and joints.
Why Is Pressure Important?
During exercise, anaerobic respiration causes the buildup of lactic acid in our muscles because they must create energy without the presence of as much oxygen since heavy exercise causes a bit of an oxygen deficit. Lactic acid is not good for your muscles and damages them, resulting in adhesions within our muscles. These adhesions cause swelling, pain, and those tension knots that result in a lot of discomfort and stress on our bodies.
Stress, insomnia, poor posture, and lack of stretching can also lead to adhesions developing, which in turn causes pain, inflammation, and restricted movement.
By using deeper pressure, these adhesions under the skin can be targeted and deep tissue massage techniques can break them up, relieving pain and freeing up the muscles to move and heal properly.
What are the Main Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage?
In addition to removing those adhesions, deep tissue massage can help the muscles in a variety of ways and can even help with other conditions. Let’s take a look.
Pain Relief – Sufferers of chronic muscle pain frequently find that they find relief from a deep tissue massage as the deeper pressure assist to alleviate the tension that chronic pain causes. For those with joint conditions like arthritis, deep tissue massage can also minimize swelling and improve mobility.
Stress Relief – High levels of stress can be an unavoidable side effect of a busy life, and chronic stress can take a significant toll on your physical, emotional, and mental health. Deep tissue massage can relieve stress, by allowing you to relax and by targeting factors that could be making your stress worse, such as muscle pain.
Massage therapy also has a proven link with the release of serotonin, a “good mood” hormone, which is a key ingredient in tackling depression, sleeping well, and dealing with stressful situations.
Treating Sciatica – Because of the deeper pressure, deep tissue massage is effective at freeing trapped nerves, which can be the cause of sciatica pain, and it can reduce swelling that is causing the muscles to press down on nerves, causing pain.
Faster Muscle Recovery – By treating adhesions and getting your muscle groups the oxygen they need, deep tissue massage allows them to heal faster so that you to work out for longer without the risk of hurting yourself. Adding deep tissue massage to your workout routine is an excellent way to achieve your fitness goals without risking your health.
Best Deep Tissue & Sports Massage Chairs
Some of the best massage chairs that offer deep tissue massage are the Panasonic MAJ7 and the D.Core Cirrus.
The Panasonic MAJ7 is a massage chair that will make you feel like you have a personal masseuse right in your home. It uses the power of modern design and innovative 3D massage systems to deliver the ancient healing art of massage at the press of a button. The Real Pro Ultra mechanism creates incredible performance, constantly feeding information to the chair’s Position and Force Micro Processor so that it can adjust the massage movements and pressure based on real-time feedback. Sensitive enough to detect tension in your muscles and monitor massage pressure at a rate of 100 times per second, the MAJ7 provides the most rejuvenating experience. Plus, with heated rollers paired to a deep tissue massage, you’ll get an extra boost to your circulation and relaxation.
Featuring patented True Shiatsu Action and Wave Arrays, the D.Core Cirrus provides a more life-like and therapeutic massage than any other chair on the market. The True Shiatsu Action simulates the finger structure and organic movements of a massage therapist, while the Wave Arrays – found in Cirrus’ arms and legs – make Cirrus the first and only massage chair to feature mechanical massage units for the arms and calves. D.Core, standing for Deep Core, as a brand has embraced the healing qualities of deep tissue massage and leaned into them. The Cirrus’ patented massage mechanism goes beyond 3D with oscillating rollers and organic movements that provide the most realistic, therapeutic shiatsu massage around.
And any list about massage chairs aimed at athletes would be remiss if it didn’t mention the Positive Posture Brio Sport.
Positive Posture knows that recovery—particularly massage—is just as important to health and stress management as cardio and resistance training. The Brio Sport is the first and only massage chair designed specifically for recovery, giving you the benefits of a sports massage clinic in your own home. It has been designed to help you perform better, reduce stress, and spend more time doing what you love.
The Positive Posture’s Sport 4D intelligent massage mechanism has been created to mobilize your spine, relax your mind, and help you recover from your workout. The Sport 4D kneads, taps, rolls (in fast or slow mode), presses, and is expertly choreographed to do much, much more. Its deep tissue massaging capability helps improve blood flow, work tired muscles, and promote lymphatic flow. Plus, the L-Track shape means that these rollers can reach all the way down your back to your glutes.
What Sounds Best to You?
However you choose to pair your workout 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 professional if necessary.
After you finish your cardio, strength-building, and HIIT intervals 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 fitness routine 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 when you’re working hard, and when you’re taking time off.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!