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Combining Massage and Personal Training

by Steven Rice, CMT, CPT

Two great ways to care for your body are massage and exercise. The importance of each is familiar, but less well known is how the two complement each other. In fact they are often both required to resolve common pain, posture, and movement issues. NB: First check with a medical professional to diagnose the problem.

Massage and other forms of soft tissue bodywork have benefits including reducing tension in muscles and fascia, and breaking down undesirable adhesions which can form within the tissues. This release can help restore mobility and range of motion. The body and mind relax and feel at ease.

Exercise serves to strengthen and build new efficient muscle and connective tissue by using controlled deliberate stress. The body is energized, and the capacity to deal with unintentional stress is increased. Together with the physical changes, good exercise develops new motor patterns- neurological conditioning of how the muscles work together to create movement and stability.

Often muscular pain and dysfunction are caused by a combination of over-active, shortened muscles in one area and weakened, over-stretched opposing muscles. Resolving the problem in these cases requires treating both sets of muscles with a combination of massage and exercise.

It is also essential that as flexibility in an area increases, the ability to support and protect the body in that area is also developed. Increasing the range of motion without increasing strength and control in that range can cause susceptibility to injury and joint dysfunction.

A commonly successful strategy is to begin with focused soft tissue work, including massage and facilitated stretching, at the beginning of the treatment program. This is to alleviate pain and release tissue. Specific corrective exercises are then added to address muscle imbalances and deficiencies. As progress is made the program transitions to more general "maintenance" massage and integrated, functional strength training.

By combining the release of massage with structured growth from personal training, soft tissue is remodeled and the body becomes less painful and restricted, stronger and more mobile, and less likely to be injured.

Steven Rice is a Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer. He uses both
approaches to help people improve and excel at health and fitness.
This article is from his blog Steven Rice Fitness.