What happens to your muscles during and after a massage?



What happens to your muscles during and after a massage?

In: Biology

Your muscles can get stuck “on” from overuse or say poor posture, a massage therapist will work to find the off buttons to turn them back “off” again.

Going further, your muscles have a layer in between your skin and your muscle that gets bunched up over time, like a bed sheet under a blanket. A good massage therapist will work to smooth this layer back out again allowing muscles to move freely under your skin.

Generally depends on what kind of massage, and what state the muscles are in. But you are either trying to stimulate a systemic change in the body or damage muscle cells in a way that will help it heal so it works in a functionally better way. A lot of the effect from massage is psychological and some new studies talk about how massaging of an area actually does nothing but stimulate the body to repair or work the tissue in whatever way needed.

The common theory for deep tissue massage is that you break down/destroy tense muscle tissue and increase blood flow to the area which will stimulate proper healing of the tissue.

Massage of “lumps” in muscle tissue (idk the english for it sorry) is basically pressing down on the lump until it disappears from the pressure on the tissue.

For oiled massage and effleurage it’s more focused on stimualting the body to release tension itself.

cross massage (massaging perpendicular of the muscle tissue) can also affect muscle length for shorter periods of time

Hope this makes sense, going into the physiological changes is beyond my capabillites while keeping it ELI5

No one has provided an adequate answer so lemme give it a show.

Massage is the application of pressure and movement to heal the muscles of the body by releasing the built up tension from use to increase blood flow to the area.
Think of your muscles like a rubber band, and think of the fibers that comprise that rubber band to be made of rails with locking teeth that slide against each other. As you flex, the rails slide across each other and lock into position. When you relax the muscle, the teeth disengage and the pull from the opposite extensor should theoretically pull the flexor back to normal. This is why full range of motion exercises are so important. Don’t cheat your pushup or bench press by limiting the range of motion to only a few inches of a push. Sometimes, the teeth don’t fully disengage so when you have some fibers still partially engaged it creates pain (knots). A massage therapist goes in and manually separates the fibers through different techniques. Our muscles only apply pulling force on our bones, and thus why you should massage from the insertion (furthest muscle connection) to the origin (closest muscle connection). Pulling and compressive force is great for breaking out the locked fibers and allowing them to recalibrate. This is massively important for muscle health because the tension present in a muscle continues building lactic acid as oxygen gets blocked out of those sections of muscle. Lactic Acid burns the cells and oxygen (and the resulting minerals from the blood) allows them to recover faster. Use lacrosse balls or foam rollers for adequate results, but the unique part of massage is your ability to relax during it. Massage offers the unique part of being able to pull the muscle fibers apart while in a relaxed position. Flexing your muscles while getting a massage yields pain since you are fighting the attempt to pull the muscle apart with your mind, and why its more efficient than foam rolling.

TL:DR: Muscles are pulleys that sometimes get stuck. Massage is the manual unsticking.

Not very much at all, and lots of studies back this up. My favourite is when a group of masseuse were given a subject to identify the “adhesions” (or whatever other BS word was used) and they couldn’t agree where they were or what “therapy” was needed. Outside of “feeling nice” massages do not do much at all.

It’s basically about regulating the nervous tissues. You’re not really doing anything directly to the muscles or even the fascia – there are numerous articles out there that show this – you’re mainly up/down regulating the nervous tissue. Basically like another person here said, you’re trying to get what might be termed “overactive” muscles to relax and “turn off.” You might even be trying to do the opposite – you may be trying to turn the “off” muscles “on,” meaning you may be trying to get “underactive” muscles to work better