If you’ve ever indulged in a ninety-minute massage from a seasoned professional, you know what it’s like to walk out feeling like a superhero—but do you know why?
Sure, there are the surface-level benefits that come from indulging yourself, getting rid of knots, and shutting out the world for a while…but the most lasting and transformational benefits go quite a bit deeper, no pun intended.
Muscle Recovery: Cellular Health and Pain Relief
Here’s a rule: if you exercise regularly, you should schedule massages regularly. Why? Because exercise, following its simplest definition, means taking muscles through a cycle of breakdown and repair.
When left alone, the “repair” aspect of this can go a lot of ways. Just because our individual cells eventually fix themselves doesn’t mean their collective forms remain free of knots, tightness, and inflammation—which is where massage comes into play. Numerous studies, to this point, have demonstrated the clinical role massage can play in reducing inflammation and promoting muscle health in as little as ten minutes.
Multiply ten minutes into ten weeks of treatment for more chronic issues such as back pain, and the results multiply as well—leading doctors to confirm, per clinical studies, the advantages of massage versus medication in pain relief.
Not bad plusses for a treatment that happens to also feel really, really good (and puts all of the effort on someone else). As men, we hear a lot about taking care of ourselves in ways that aren’t always enjoyable—saying no to rich foods, saying yes to running in summer humidity, etc.—so I don’t take for granted any opportunity to make mental and physical gains without any pain, tender pressure points excluded.
Need I mention that some experts say the increased blood flow of massage can also nourish your skin and hair?