Benefits of Massage and Myofascial Release.

21st century living has brought about huge levels of stress. You can’t watch more than 15 minutes of news before you realise that the world is undergoing profound political and financial upheaval. Add to this that we all sit too much – in the car, at work and in front of the TV set at night -and it can have a diabolical effect on our bodies.

A cave man’s chief stress was that he would accidently bump into an angry bear. The Cavemansudden stressful meeting of bear and man would have one of two outcomes;
1. Our cave man would die in the encounter which meant that he was now stress free.
2. Our cave man would fight with the bear, eventually kill the stressor and then drag him back home and make Tim Noakes really happy with his diet choice. During the fight and drag back home our cave man would enjoy two physical benefits. 1. He would get exercise. 2. He would exhaust himself and deplete his body of adrenalin.

You and I go through the same stress as our caveman on a daily basis. Except for the most part it is introduced to us, bit by bit. A bit of news, another war, financial data, an aggressive driver, a troubling email, frustrating meeting……. Most of these moments take place while we are sitting, which robs us of the exercise that we need in order to naturally tire us out and burn through stress hormones such as adrenaline.

What to do –

  1. Sit less, move more.  Read –
  2. Get regularly exercise.
  3. Get a regular massage. Read the rest of this blog.
  4. Get enough sleep. Article coming up soon.
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff and celebrate your successes.

So, herewith some of the benefits of massage:

Physical benefits.

  1. A soft, flexible muscle is far more effective and aerobically efficient than a tight knotted muscle.
  2. A tight muscle will place strain on adjacent muscles that can further injure the body. Softening that muscle can stop other injuries from developing.
  3. Each muscle has an a muscle that performs an opposite function. Your bicep pulls your lower arm upwards, your triceps pull the arm back down. When one muscle tightens it very often places strain on its counterpart. Tight hip flexors for example, will place strain on the spine that can have nasty consequences over time.
  4. Massage can restore the range of motion of a particular joint.
  5. Tight Core muscles can throw your hips out. Releasing the correct muscle will often rebalance a person.

Mental benefits.

Massage has been shown to target two specific areas of the brain, namely the limbic and reticular formations. Here is a list of what each does:

Your Limbic system influences: limbic_system112

–          Your ability to smell

–          Your emotions

–          Memory

–          Time perception

–          Attention

–          Consciousness

–          Levels of motivation

Your Reticular system influences: reticular-activating-system-function

–          Muscle tone

–          Balance

–          Posture

–          It plays a central role in states of consciousness like alertness and sleep

–          The system allows you to focus on what is important to you and ignore stimuli that are not important. An example of this is that a parent will be able to make out the sound of a child crying, while traffic and general city sounds prevail outside.

Massage therefore helps you disable to catch 22 cycle of stress. Stress is perceived in the brain, works itself into the body via muscle tension, which in turn causes higher stress levels in the brain. This process reduces focus and motivation, the two tools you need to creatively solve the problems you have that caused stress in the first place.

Runners world had a brilliant article on the fascia. What exactly does it do? Here is what they write, “It wraps around each of your individual internal parts, keeping them separate and allowing them to slide easily with your movements. It’s strong, slippery and wet. It creates a sheath around each muscle; because it’s stiffer, it resists over-stretching and acts like an anatomical emergency break. It connects your organs to your ribs to your muscles and all your bones to each other. It structures your insides in a feat of engineering, balancing stressors and counter-stressors to create a mobile, flexible and resilient body unit. It generally keeps you from being a big, bone-filled blob.

Grab hold of the collar of your shirt and give it a little tug. Your whole shirt responds, right? Your collar pulls into the back of your neck. The tail of your shirt inches up the small of your back. Your sleeves move up your forearms. Then it falls back into place. That’s a bit like fascia. It fits like a giant, body-hugging T-shirt over your whole body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes and crisscrossing back and forth and through and back again. You can’t move just one piece of it, and you can’t make a move without bringing it along.

Now, pull the collar of your shirt again, only this time, hold onto it for eight hours. That’s about the time you spend leaning forward over a desk or computer or steering wheel, right? Now, pull it 2,500 times. That’s about how many steps you’d take on a half-hour run. Your shirt probably isn’t looking too good at this point.”

Myofascial release is all about easing that ‘shirt’ up.

Give us a call should you want to make an appointment. We are able on certain mornings to make appointments before 9 a.m.


Mike Roscoe.

Mike Roscoe

About sbrsport

SBR Sport specialises in Swimming, Biking and Running. On the medical side we are able to do intensive bike setups, leg assessments and soft tissue release. - and/or facebook -
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