Do you want to use a massage chair after a workout but don’t know if it’s safe? The fact is, massage chairs have come a long way since the humble coin-operated recliner at the mall.
The modern chair is a therapeutic powerhouse with innovative technology that offers innumerable benefits for the body and mind- especially for active individuals.
We take an in-depth look at how the use of a massage chair after workout impacts the body.
Your Body During and After a Workout
You may be wondering why you need a massage after working out. After all, isn’t exercise enough to keep you healthy and happy?
It’s a well-known fact that daily exercise is essential for keeping the body in tip-top shape. Whether you like to run for miles or do a million burpees at the gym, you’re pushing your body to new heights, straining muscles, and increasing your heart rate.
But what happens after your workout session? You may feel tired, sore, and tight. You just got finished putting your body through an intense session, and now it needs to rest and recover.
A massage chair can aid in the recovery process by lowering your blood pressure and calming your heart rate, giving your mind and body the chance to relax in peace for a few minutes before jumping into something new.
Should I Workout Before or After a Massage?
Using a massage chair before or after a workout is fine, and it helps in different ways.
Before a workout, a massage can warm up your muscles through gentle stretching. It even puts you in the right state of mind to get you mentally prepped for hardcore exercise, reducing stress and helping you relax.
Keep in mind that if you use a massage chair before a workout, remember to choose gentle and soothing techniques. Deep tissue may be too intense, causing soreness. Opt for light strokes and low air compression instead.
Hopping into the massage chair post-workout offers even more physical and mental benefits. We’ll discuss this next.
7 Benefits of Using a Massage Chair After Exercise
Is a massage good after a workout? While massage is proven to offer benefits, it’s always important to assess your personal situation, physical needs, and the programs your massage chair offers.
If you’re not sure, always consult your doctor beforehand to help you make the best-informed decision.
Now without further ado, let’s look at how a massage chair can improve your overall well-being.
1. Massage Reduces Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
All those pushups, planks, and crunches take a toll on the body. Everyone has felt sore the day after a rigorous workout, and the fatigue can make you feel like laying on the couch all day.
This is called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS, and it can last for multiple days.
A massage can help combat soreness, and the United States National Center for Biotechnology Information confirms this.
By gently stretching post-workout, tightness melts away, and the muscles have a chance to “cool down” properly, reducing the case of DOMS.
2. Massage Relieves Stress
Even though exercise is recommended to relieve stress, for serious athletes, the pressure to perform at peak levels can get stressful, too.
After an intense training session, a relaxing massage can help calm the mind and soothe the body. It’s an excellent way to let the brain “cool down” and return to normal so you can relax and focus on the tasks ahead for the day.
3. Massage Can Help Lower Blood Pressure After a Workout
As we mentioned before, your blood pressure and heart rate increase during physical activity. This ensures your muscles get the oxygen flow needed to perform at a high-intensity level without getting injured.
After a workout, a massage can slowly lower the heart rate and blood pressure, easing tension and facilitating blood circulation.
4. It Can Improve Flexibility
It’s important to stretch your body before and after a workout to reduce inflammation and improve flexibility.
A massage chair can help with this, not only by relaxing your body but using a combination of roller techniques to hold the muscles in place while gently pulling them for a thorough stretch.
Before a workout, stretching loosens your muscles and warms them up for high-intensity exercise. After a workout, it can soothe muscles to ward off soreness and fatigue.
5. Massage Aids in Recovery After a Workout
After a workout, your cells help your body process the physical duress it experienced. Part of this is easing any inflammation that can lead to muscle soreness.
A massage helps the recovery process, flushing toxins from the body. By minimizing inflammation, your cells enhance the recovery process, and over time, your body will be able to quickly and more efficiently cool down without soreness.
6. Massage Boosts Immunity
Massage helps our bodies flush out toxins, improving blood flow to oxygenate the muscles and organs.
Getting a massage has also been shown to increase white blood cells, arming our body with a strong immune system to ward off diseases.
7. Relieves Back, Foot, and Leg Pain
If you suffer from an old sports injury, regular massage may help ease the pain. Massage chairs come with various features that target specific areas of the body, such as the back, calves, and feet.
Zero Gravity Seating is a popular feature offered with luxury massage chairs. It works by reclining to a position that elevates the legs above the heart to induce a feeling of weightlessness.
This takes the pressure off the spine and joints, relieving back pain and facilitating blood circulation.
Best Massage Chair Programs After a Workout
Depending on the type of massage chair you have at home, most come with several auto programs and manual massage techniques to choose from.
Of course, everyone has different preferences, but some programs are more beneficial after a workout than others. Opt for gentle massages with stretching techniques that help soothe the muscles and usher in relaxation.
These common specialty massage programs can help with sports-related soreness and pain.
- Air Massage: It’s common to see air massage offered with modern recliners. Airbags are installed throughout the chair to administer a full-body compression massage. It feels less intense than a deep tissue massage, like wrapping your muscles in a cloud.
- Thai Stretch: This is an advanced technique that helps relieve tension and bolster flexibility.
- Reflexology: Foot/calf massages are great for treating chronic leg pain, especially if you’re on your feet for long hours. Look for models that have a heating element in the footwells for added therapeutic value.
Final Thoughts on Using a Massage Chair After Workout
If you plan on using a massage chair after a workout, it’s important to do your research and understand how these ancient techniques can affect YOUR body and mind.
After a vigorous workout, your body has been pushed to its limits, and recovery is vital to ward off soreness and injury.
A massage chair can help with stretching techniques and light strokes that relieve pain, detox the muscles, and reduce inflammation. Remember to always consult with your doctor if you have questions.
References & Resources:
- Massage After Exercise Myth Busted by Queen’s Research Team, EurekaAlert!
- Can You Work Out After a Full-Body Massage?, LiveStrong.com.
- Massage After Exercise? Research Challenges Common Belief in Benefits, ScienceDaily.
- Massage Therapy: 7 Myths You Probably Believe…Busted!, Heal.me.
- Massage and its Benefits, MassageTherapy.com.