Chronic pain has become an epidemic in our fast-paced modern society. It compromises our quality of life, making it difficult to enjoy even the simplest pleasures. Some chronic pain problems require medical intervention. However, many yoga practitioners have found ongoing pain relief through fitness therapy that includes yoga and self-massage.
The Pain Relief Benefits of Massage
Ever pushed yourself with a really intense workout then spent the next two days so sore you could barely move? Delayed-onset muscle soreness occurs when vigorous exercise causes tiny tears in the muscles. Inflammation arises as the body works to repair itself. However, according to a 2005 study, massage can reduce the agony of delayed-onset muscle soreness by as much as 30%.
It has long been recognized that massage eases inflammation. Yet, until a recent study, it wasn’t clear how massage eased pain and inflammation. This study revealed the fascinating science behind the anti-inflammatory nature of massage therapy.
Participants worked to the point of exhaustion, then got a massage on one leg. Researchers examined the muscles of both legs. They discovered that massage reduces the production of compounds called cytokines, which contribute to pain and inflammation. Massage also stimulates mitochondria inside the cells, which accelerate cell function and repair.
The ability of massage to reduce pain and inflammation while simultaneously stimulating the recovery process makes it a the preferable option. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like ibuprofen or naproxen, reduce inflammation, but impede cell recovery. Long-term reliance on anti-inflammatory drugs can create additional health concerns.
Physiological Benefits of Massage
Stress can take an emotional toll. It can also ravage the immune system’s ability to ward off infections. Stress is regarded by many healthcare professionals as an underlying cause for many diseases. Here, too, massage can be invaluable.
Fear and stress trigger the release of cortisol—the body’s stress hormone. Part of the body’s natural fight-or-flight mechanism, this hormone prepares the body for immediate action. When no physical release of the hormone occurs, cortisol levels climb, harming both the mind and body. Increased levels of cortisol in the bloodstream:
- Cause inflammation
- Inhibit learning and memory
- Suppress immune function
- Trigger weight gain
- Raise blood pressure
- Contribute to heart disease
The physical activity and cardiovascular benefits of yoga reduce cortisol levels in the bloodstream. Meditation helps calm the mind and ease fears. Massage therapy soothes the nervous system. A study in 2000 demonstrated massage lowered diastolic blood pressure and hypertension in study participants.
The anti-inflammatory and physiological benefits of massage are well-documented. However, getting a professional massage after every workout or whenever life gets stressful is cost-prohibitive. So how can we take advantage of the stunning benefits of massage without breaking the bank? Discover the benefits of self-massage.
The Roll Model® Method of Self Massage
There is a growing movement of people who’ve taken pain relief in their own hands, thanks to The Roll Model®. This exciting fitness therapy method, created by Jill Miller, is based on more than 27 years of study in anatomy and movement. The Roll Model® Method teaches you to recognize your body’s blind spots—overused, underused, or misused areas of knotted tension where muscle fibers and connective tissue have adhered to each other.
In April, we’ll explore this unique method of self massage during a workshop led Jean Eng, certified Yoga Tune Up® and Roll Model® Method teacher. We’ll learn to tune up our awareness of blind spots in the body. Then Jean will teach us simple, effective techniques for releasing the tension by using specially-designed pliable, rubber massage therapy balls to melt away those nagging aches and pains. Learn to use self massage to quickly and inexpensively:
- Relieve pain
- Improve posture
- Increase flexibility
- Reduce stress
- Enhance breathing capacity
The price of this two-hour workshop covers the cost of your brand new ball kit. You’ll begin the class by using your new massage ball therapy kit to knead your tired, aching feet. Then you’ll work your way throughout the body, discovering your personal blind spots and rubbing away tension and pain.
The self massage therapy balls will help you elongate and compress dormant and tired tissues. As you stretch, loosening up stiffness and limited mobility associated with your body’s blind spots, the muscles and connective tissue will regain more fluid movement. You’ll also learn to enhance your breathing.
Ongoing stress causes the diaphragm—the muscle essential to breathing—to contract. Tension in surrounding muscles also prevents the diaphragm from relaxing. Scarring from surgeries—appendectomies, hysterectomies, gall bladder removal, Caesarian sections, etc.—can cause adhesions, as can disorders like endometriosis. This further compromises the diaphragm’s ability to relax.
When the diaphragm doesn’t fully relax, our breathing becomes shallow. The lungs can’t draw in an adequate supply of fresh oxygen. During the workshop we’ll work on techniques for relaxing the diaphragm and expanding the breath. Enhanced breathing will energize you and boost your performance in other activities, like yoga or cross fit.
At the end of the workshop, you’ll feel relaxed and rejuvenated after giving yourself the best full-body self massage you’ve ever experienced. You’ll leave the workshop empowered, in possession of tools and techniques for instant pain relief whenever you need it.
The Roll Model® is the perfect complement to other fitness programs, like yoga or cross fit. Join us and learn to use self massage to heal damaged muscle and relieve unhealthy tension in the body.
Missed our April workshop? Learn more about The Roll Model® here.