Massage Therapy Improves Flexibility

Monday, August 28, 2017
There is a lot of controversy surrounding stretching. Currently, the consensus among exercise physiologists is that dynamic stretching is beneficial before physical activity and that static stretching should only be done after physical activity, mobility work, and massage therapy. Dynamic stretching is stretching that is done in motion, for example swinging your legs before you go for a run, and static stretching is when you hold a stretch while your body is at rest. Many people suffer from poor flexibility and range of motion. A lot of times poor flexibility is due to a combination of improper/insufficient stretching and a sedentary lifestyle. In recent years there have been many scientific articles published about stretching. Many of these articles conclude that static stretching alone really isn’t very effective and some exercise physiologists believe that static stretching alone actually has the potential to do more harm than good.

 The good news is that treatments like massage therapy are beneficial when it comes to maintaining/improving flexibility and range of motion. Tight muscles can lead to poor flexibility/ROM and can increase an individual's likelihood of suffering from sprains and strains during physical activity. Studies have found massage therapy to be extremely effective at relieving tight muscles.

 Although the benefits of static stretching alone are negligible at best, post massage static stretching has been shown to be extremely beneficial when it comes to improving flexibility and range of motion (Greenfield, 2014). Massage therapy and post massage stretching improves blood circulation, which among other things aids in illness recovery and disease prevention.

In some cases, poor flexibility is due to an injury. If you believe that you have an injury that is limiting your flexibility then it is best to seek the guidance of a physiotherapist. Physiotherapist specialize in the treatment of injuries and will be able to use a variety of different techniques to help you regain your flexibility.

 Another thing that you may want to try is foam rolling paired with static stretching, as this combination has been shown to be effective when it comes to improving flexibility.

References

Greenfield, B. (2014). Beyond training: mastering endurance, health, and life. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing, Inc.

The Stretching Debate || Massage Therapy Articles. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2017, from http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/1999/The-Stretching-Debate

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