Muscle adhesion occurs when muscle fibers and collagen lay in a misaligned position across the skin. This misalignment interferes with the smooth flow of blood and lymphatic fluid, causing muscle adhesion or what is commonly known as muscle knots. When smooth flow of blood and lymphatic fluid is impacted, it results in lots of pain. One of the many ways through which muscle adhesion is dealt with is massage. That being said, this article will focus on the processes that occur during a massage therapy so that muscle adhesion can be healed.
- Increased Temperature
Depending on their discretion, a massage therapist may apply heat pressure together with a massage on an area experiencing muscle adhesion. Heat pressure is applied by placing a hot stone, a piece of cloth dipped in hot water or some heated essential oils. As the therapist spreads the warmth of the oil on the surface, it penetrates deep into the skin, easing the tension of the muscle fibers. As this happens, the blocked and inflamed capillaries soften, allowing blood to flow smoothly. This finally causes the healing that reduces muscle adhesion and pain goes away.
- Increased Oxygenation
When muscle fibers and blood vessels are tensed, smooth flow of blood is impacted and this causes further injuries and some debilitating pains. Massage therapy helps straighten and soften the capillaries and muscle fibers in the area of focus. As the capillaries open up, the smooth flow of blood is regained. As the blood flows, it carries with it oxygen. This oxygen is responsible for healing of the injured cells, meaning the muscle adhesion is healed and ultimately the pain goes away.
- Breakdown and Realignment of Collagen Fibers
As noted earlier, muscle adhesion occurs when muscle and collagen fibers lay haphazardly in the skin. This crisscrossing causes muscle adhesion and pains because of the smooth flow of blood and lymphatic fluid. When a massage therapist applies pressure on an area of focus, the cross-link between collagen fibers is broken down, allowing the smooth flow of blood and lymphatic fluid. Lymphatic fluid carries with it impurities and toxins out of the body, while blood carries oxygen that is responsible for the healing of muscle adhesions.
- Myofascial Release
This is a sports massage practice where massage therapists use soft and light controlled pressure on the soft tissues while applying traction to the fascia. Due to injuries, disuse, overuse, and lack of enough stretching, the muscle may become stuck together in what is known as muscle adhesions. The superficial fascia is a soft connective tissue that covers and binds together muscles, blood vessels, bones and nerves of a body. Together, muscle and fascia make up the myofascial system. Therefore, when a therapist applies some sustained and controlled pressure, it leads to the strengthening and softening of the fascia, a process that feels like a release, hence the name myofascial release.
- Reduced Tension
Massage therapy works by reducing tension in the area of focus. As the tension is reduced, the body reacts by reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is responsible for poor muscle health. In the same process, the body produces increased levels of endorphins. This hormone makes the body relax and you get to enjoy quality sleep. Most metabolic processes take place while someone is sleeping and they are responsible for the healing of muscle adhesions.
- Reduced Temperature
When someone has had a muscle injury or adhesion, the nerve endings around the affected area tend to become overly hot, causing very serious pain. This is what causes inflammation of such muscles, leading to even more pain. To avert this, a massage therapist applies cold pressure by the use of an ice-cold pack. This causes lowered temperatures around the injured part, leading to reduced inflammation. With reduced muscle inflammation, comes lesser pain and the ultimate healing of the muscle adhesion.
Muscle adhesions can be quite painful but the good thing is that massage can help get rid of them. Massage helps ensure optimal temperature levels around the affected area, reduced tension, realignment of collagen fibers, and myofascial release. All these benefits go a long in getting rid of muscle adhesion. When looking for a masseur, be sure to get the best one in town. This is because an inexperienced and unlicensed masseur can only cause you further injuries instead of giving you relief. That being said, sample a few masseurs, while paying attention to their reviews and ratings. You should also check for their National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).