DOMS: Massage Battles This Summer Bummer

Woman with DOMS massaging shoulder.Summer wouldn’t be complete without all the outings at the beach, theme parks, family gatherings, sports, and of course, travel. Throughout all the activities we engage in, we are absolutely dependent on our silent and obedient partners – our muscles. When you think about it, it’s amazing just how dependent we are on our muscles for wholesome, healthy living, working,  and summer fun. Thats why Tranquility Massage focuses on providing muscle friendly, pain relieving massage therapy where people need it most – where they live, work, and play.

Our muscles frequently get sore after periods of intense and/or sustained physical activity, but the soreness doesn’t always have the same character. The reason involves the level of damage the muscle tissue (including cells, nerves, blood vessels, etc.) sustains from the activity.

It’s important to note that muscles are ‘damaged’ during normal day-to-day use. It’s the healing process that leads to increases in strength, endurance, range of motion, flexibility, and other life improving benefits. Therefore, some level of controlled muscular ‘damage’ can be beneficial (“controlled muscular damage” = exercise!). Massage therapy can be an effective, satisfying, and drug-free part of both the exercise and healing processes.

Muscle soreness can be generally defined in two basic categories. Muscle strains involve stiffness, swelling, bruising, and excruciating pain that is usually apparent immediately after injury, and may require a doctor’s care and/or physical therapy if severe enough. Although severe muscle strains may require a doctor’s care, massage therapy can effectively reduce pain and swelling, and may also aid in faster healing of many muscle strain (more on this in a later posting).

We’re all (hopefully) more familiar with the delayed feeling of pain and stiffness that occurs 24 to 72 hours after some form of healthy activity, known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or “DOMS”. DOMS results from micro tears in the muscle tissues sustained during elevated physical activity, and can lead many people to avoid physical activities or take liver-damaging medications, neither of which is conducive to a healthy lifestyle (by the way, ALWAYS consult your doctor before taking any medication).  That dull, lingering pain you get the morning after an active day at the beach is DOMS in action. This is where massage therapy shines (checkout this article from Medicine.net on DOMS and massage).

Mobile massage therapy is perfectly suited to address the pain and stiffness of DOMS for several reasons. First, massage helps counter the discomfort of DOMS by increasing blood flow to the affected muscles and releasing muscle fiber binding and releasing toxins that inhibit healing. Second, massage therapy can actually stimulate muscle tissue growth which can help avoid future recurrences of DOMS. Third, massage does all this without using medications that only mask the underlying causes of DOMS and can lead to further muscle damage (see more about this from Scientific American here). Finally, the mobile massage therapist does it in the most convenient, comfortable, and effective environment possible.

Unfortunately, several studies have concluded there is no effective way to prevent the occurrence of DOMS, but this has been disputed. Some say stretching or cardio exercises have been effective in reducing DOMS, but results vary from person to person.

If you’re injured or in pain, driving around and waiting aren’t part of the solution. You want long term relief and you want it quick. Mobile massage therapy may be just the ticket to keep your summer from being a bummer because of DOMS.

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