The Benefits of Soft Tissue Massage Therapy
for Postural Muscles
As technology advances at an ever-faster pace, society seems to move further away from physical activity. Statistics reveal that less than 5 % of adults perform 30 minutes of physical activity daily. By contrast, a 2018 study found that the average person spends over 11 hours per day interacting with different forms of media.
Inevitably, these sedentary habits shape the way we interact with our environment and other people. If you look around any public space, you'll notice that a slouched down crowd staring at their screens has become the norm.
However, far from only being aesthetically unpleasant, improper posture has some real health repercussions. Good or bad, your stance shapes your body in some pretty unexpected ways. Here are some of them:
Your Posture Will Affect Your Health
The way you stand not only impacts how you are perceived in social situations but also your health. Muscles become constricted when you hold a bad posture during prolonged times. For instance, sitting with your head leaned forward will result in neck pain and spasms (involuntary movement). Similarly, improper spinal alignment will constrict chest muscles and cause rib pain.
Not only will your muscles be submitted to discomfort, but they'll also learn to stay in a constricted position out of habit. Moving freely will no longer be an option, and trying to perform sudden movements will most likely leave your muscles in pain.
An inadequate stance can also exacerbate certain conditions such as fatigue, arthritis, and acid reflux. Conversely, good posture will allow you to enhance your strength and lift objects without overly straining your muscles.
You Teach Your Body How To Move
As stated before, your habits shape the way your muscles work. Dr. Steven Weiniger, a specialist in posture, has noted just as much. On 5 Posture Principles, Weiniger establishes that compensation refers to the way "the body learns to move in the patterns you teach it."
Over time, each body is subject to a particular history of trauma. Think about it, have you ever been injured? Chances are you avoided moving in a way that caused you discomfort. Similarly, the body adapts its movement to what feels less painful, affecting not only your posture but also the way you move around.
Work and Rest: A Must to Keep Your Muscles in Good Shape
Everyone knows that improving your strength will require you to push your body to its limit. However, the necessity to rest after intense physical activity is never stressed quite enough.
When you exercise, you cause damage to your muscle cells. This allows your muscles to grow bigger and stronger. Rest is necessary in that it lets stressed tissue heal and become more resistant. People get in better shape when subjected to this process consistently.
However, muscles are easily injured when pushed too hard and not allowed to rest between work out sessions. Other risks linked with insufficient resting time include poor immune function, neurological changes, hormonal disturbances, and depression.
Far from only referring to sleep, recovery can take on different shapes such as low-intensity exercise or stretching after workouts. Alternative methods of recovery consist of modifying your exercise routine every so often to target different muscle groups and avoid fatigue, as well as adjusting your diet to get proper nutrition, etc.
Soft Tissue Therapy: Why Massages Can Make a Difference
Now that the many ways in which posture affects your body have been established, you might be wondering: how can you improve it? Well, Soft Tissue Therapy (STT) is a solid option.
STT focuses on the treatment and rehabilitation of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia (a substance with a glue-like function placed beneath the skin). STT comprises many techniques such as acupuncture, assisted stretching, and cupping. However, the most well known amongst them are, unsurprisingly, massages.
As an STT technique, massages help treat injury and reduce pain by stimulating stiff muscles. Far from being recommended only to those who perform heavy physical activity daily, such as professional athletes, anyone can benefit from massages.
Amongst its many benefits, massages are proven to aid in relaxing muscles, healing strained ligaments, reducing inflammation, decreasing spasms, improving oxygen flow and blood circulation.
Other lesser known benefits include an increased release of endorphins, a feel-good hormone that boosts happiness and reduces pain, as well as strengthening your immune system.
A Lack of Stimulation Makes for Less Range of Motion
Whether it be due to a sedentary lifestyle or how muscles naturally tighten and lose their flexibility as the body ages, over time, most people lose the ability to perform a wide range of motion.
That's where massages comes into play. By stimulating your muscles, not only will you achieve fluid movement more easily but will also be less prone to injuries.
A combination of exercise and massage therapy will allow your muscles to stay naturally lubricated. This is the best way to avoid a buildup of lactic acid. Said phenomenon is triggered when the body lacks enough oxygen to perform movement, after which a substance named lactate is created by breaking down glucose.
By trying to produce enough energy to keep you going, your body generates lactate faster than you can burn off. This results in consequences such as aching muscles, shortness of breath, nausea, and stomachaches.
In short, it is necessary to ensure your body is prepared to endure your daily routine as you age. Massage therapy is not only readily available but also a pleasant way for your muscles to get all the help they need to keep up with your lifestyle. Massages will also help correct and prevent the risks of bad posture in the long run.
After all, keeping an eye on our habits is never far too great an effort to make sure they don't develop into bigger problems in the future.