Americans are serious about their fitness equipment. In fact, we spend over $10 billion on fitness equipment every year. Yet somehow, 80% of U.S. residents do not get the recommended amount of weekly exercise.
Psychology Today seems to think it is because Americans want nothing to do with anything that makes us uncomfortable. This includes the pain from sore muscles after a good workout.
Thankfully, a new development has come to the rescue: Percussive Massage Therapy! So maybe, just maybe we can get beyond sore muscles and get active!
Read on to learn 7 benefits of percussion therapy and what it is. One of the benefits surprised even us!
What is Percussion Massage Therapy?
Percussive Massage Therapy is one of the newest developments in the industry. It uses fast, soft blows over a short amount of time to shock muscle fibers. The continuous taps help muscles let go of their tension so you can relax and heal.
The vibrations go deep so they affect soft tissues deep inside your body. These soft tissues touch almost every part of your internal system, so the benefits are vast.
The Benefits of Percussion Therapy
The benefits of percussive therapy are numerous but put simply, it's relaxing and effective.
How effective? Studies show percussive therapy massages are 30% more effective than regular massages.
Percussion therapy shocks muscle fibers surrounding sore muscle tissues. The pulsing effect from the vibrations reaches places hands can't even with deep tissue massage techniques.
1. Helps Sore Muscles Heal Faster
Percussive massage therapy helps sore muscles heal faster after a strenuous workout by improving blood circulation. Because blood can move more efficiently through the vascular system, oxygen can too.
Increased oxygen flow helps lessen muscle cramps which aid in healing and recovery so you can get back to the gym quicker without injury.
2. Improved Drainage of the Lymphatic System
Similar to the way oxygen moves through the vascular system, lymph travels through the muscular system. Proper drainage of lymph is important because it allows the body to rid itself of toxins and waste.
When the body is able to excrete these tainted materials, organs function normally and your immune system improves. A healthier immune system means a healthier you.
One other plus to a draining lymphatic system is a boosted metabolism. An improved metabolism can increase your chances of losing weight.
3. Enhanced Flexibility
That's right percussion therapy can give you greater flexibility. The percussive tapping given off by this type of treatment gently stretches the muscles.
When your muscles are flexible you are less likely to injure yourself during a workout or other strenuous activities. It also helps reduce aches and pains in general because your muscles are loose and less tense.
Other advantages to a more flexible body include improved posture and balance, a more positive outlook and increased strength.
4. Relaxes Thickened Connective Tissues
Connective tissue, or fascia, envelops everything in your body: arteries, bones, nerves organs, muscles. Everything. When this connective tissue tightens, there are aches and pains.
Fascia cushions what it surrounds and helps keep it safe. When there is an injury, facia helps in repair by creating scar tissue and building an environment that promotes healing.
Keeping your connective tissues healthy reduces pain in secondary areas if you sustain an injury as well.
5. Helps Breakdown Adhesions and Internal Scarring From Working Out
Muscle adhesions usually develop after an injury or surgery. The adhesions are fibrous tissues that form between soft tissues like muscles and organs.
Wherever they develop, they cause the surrounding soft tissues to stick together, hence the name. When muscles get glued together like this, the tissues are no longer able to move independently. As you can imagine, this limits your range of movement and causes a lot of pain.
Percussion therapy helps dissipate adhesions and other internal scars to improve your range of motion after surgeries, injuries or years of workouts.
6. Alleviates Pain From Hardened Muscles
Muscle hardness is one of the top causes of muscle pain. The tension in rigid muscles prevents them from relaxing and causes sharp pain. This pain often makes it difficult for its victims to move.
When you need to use your muscles, your brain tells them to contract. Sometimes your brain tells your muscles to tighten a little bit, sometimes a lot.
When you get stressed, your brain keeps sending signals to your muscles to tighten even if you are not using them. Fortunately, a percussive massage can relax those muscles and stop those signals that keep them tight.
7. Surprise: Cellulite Reduction!
Cellulite plagues men and women alike. It is that unsightly cottage cheese looking stuff you get down your legs and arms that just won't go away no matter how much you work out.
Cellulite develops when fat cells accumulate around fiber tissues connected to your muscles. The dimpling along your skin is all those fat cells getting pushed up to the surface.
The light beating from percussive therapy causes these fat cells to break apart reducing the appearance of cellulite.
How Can I Get a Percussive Massage?
There are new jigsaw-like muscle massagers that will do it for you or you can save money and do it yourself. Either way, the basic effect is the same. The percussion therapy machines take advantage of the jigsaw's motion to produce steady tapping on muscles and loosen them.
Your hands can achieve the same effects. Some techniques you can use yourself are as follows:
- Tap muscles with your fingertips
- Beat muscles lightly with a closed fist or a cupped palm
- Use fingers to slap muscles
- Karate chop muscles using the pinky side of your hand
I know this all sounds a little aggressive, but the key is light, continuous pounding. This is not a gang initiation or anything.
If all this sounds like a little too much, some alternatives can still relax and
massage your muscles. Foam rollers are an excellent substitute. If you would like more information about them, take a look at our roller purchasing guide. Still not sold?
Maybe a massage chair is more of your style. The important thing is that you find a way that is comfortable for you to help your muscles relax.
No matter what you choose, we look forward to reading about in the comments below!