Massage can improve flexibility in several different ways. First and foremost, after exercise, your muscles experience tiny micro tears and adhesions in the fibers. This is technically what makes you feel sore after vigorous activity. Massage can boost the circulation of blood flow, bringing oxygen, and much needed nutrients to these areas in need. Additionally, massage can increase lymph flow to speed the toxin removal process.
Flexibility is important for everyone that is interested in working out or exercising. In fact, it’s important for everyone that wants to be able to move their body. Increasing your range of movement is a great way to reduce your risk of strain or injury and can help enhance performance. Here’s how massage can boost flexibility:
As we’ve already mentioned, massage encourages an increased blood flow to areas in need. This can reduce post-exercise swelling and inflammation. Muscles that are sore (and full of tiny micro tears) are difficult to stretch and can make any subsequent exercises less impactful.
Massage can loosen up tight muscles and promote the production of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. This can encourage a stiff individual to get back out there and train harder for their next event.
Another interesting thing about massage is that it can train individual muscle fibers to recognize when they are under pressure. When stretching a muscle for flexibility, the body sends the brain a message that sets off the contraction reflex. Each time a muscle attempts to contract, this message is sent to let the body know when to limit the movement.
When muscles are subjected to repeated bouts of tension (with stretching and massage), the signal can be reduced as the body acclimates to a muscle's new comfortable length. This is what is termed flexibility.