How to Use Massage for Post-Workout Recovery

Nothing is better for our bodies, minds, and overall health than a good workout, but it’s common to experience pain and feel sore afterward. Especially for those new to exercising, putting strain on your body can often lead to muscle tension and soreness the next day. One of the best ways to alleviate these symptoms is a post-workout massage, which will ease the pain and get you back in top shape after exercise.  

Post-workout massage therapy has many benefits besides simply making you feel better as well. Increased blood circulation, reduced inflammation, greater flexibility, and improved muscle tone are all benefits of a post-workout massage, which will leave your muscles and body in better shape. These benefits allow you to work harder, exercise longer, and retain more of the health benefits from exercise, which leads to an overall more fit, toned, and muscular body.  

However, it’s important to make sure that you’re utilizing various massage therapy techniques properly in order to achieve as many benefits as possible. Let’s look at some of the best ways you can use massages to your benefit after working out and some of the specific strategies, goals, and techniques you should keep in mind.  

Types of Post-Workout Massages

When you go in for a massage, be sure to let your massage therapist know that you just completed an exercise routine, and they will be able to provide a specialized massage that will help you recover and maintain as much muscle tissue as possible. Some of the best post-workout massage techniques they will suggest are:


Effleurage is a technique commonly used in one of the most popular types of massage, Swedish massage. This technique is used to warm up your muscles before moving into deep tissue massage and other techniques, and usually begins lightly and then moves to more firm strokes.

Effleurage involves using either the palm of the hand or the fingertips to perform circular stroking motions, usually starting at the bottom of a limb and working back toward the heart. This begins stimulating the process of blood flow and can be done either with or without lotion or oils to aid in the process.  

Kneading, rolling, vibration, and percussive massage techniques

These movements are all very basic massage therapy techniques that are used to provide deeper, more relaxing stimulation. The masseuse will knead or roll your skin like dough, building and releasing tension within your muscles. Vibration and percussive techniques involve fine, detailed shaking movements or gentle blows to certain areas, which also help relax your body and ease tension. 

All of these techniques together are known as deep tissue massage, which can reach inward muscles and parts of our body that build up tension without us even realizing it. The goal of these techniques is to stimulate vital parts of the body like the nerves, blood vessels, glands, and cellular processes of the tissue. Deep tissue techniques increase circulation, help remove wastes and other toxins from our bodies, improve connective tissue function, and reduce swelling.

Range of motion activities

One technique that is quite common and familiar to physical therapists is known as range of motion activities, where they will adjust and work their way through flexing each joint in your body. Often, this can start at the fingers and toes and work all the way back to your shoulders or hips. This will leave you more flexible and reduce joint pain, as well as make sure your joints stay healthy

Myofascial release

Your myofascial tissue is a connective layer of tissue that is found throughout your whole body. It is composed of contractile muscle tissue and connective tissue, which is largely where we gain our movement from. Your myofascial system also contains some parts of your nervous system, vascular system, lymphatic system, and a liquid called hyaluronan which is associated with muscle pain.  

When approaching this area of massage, your therapist will perform specialized techniques that will decrease muscle pain and increase flexibility. This type of massage is more intense than other typical massage techniques, can involve the use of tools like rollers, and might leave you feeling sore immediately afterward, but after a short period will leave you feeling better than ever before. 

Lymphatic drainage

Another common post-workout massage technique is lymphatic drainage. This technique aims to stimulate natural drainage of the lymphatic system, which allows waste products to leave your body more efficiently. It is usually applied to the skin in an upwards direction and is intended to move waste products out of your muscles and toward the heart, where they will end up being expelled from your body through natural processes.  

Whether you’re a regular exerciser or just starting out, few things can provide more benefits than a massage afterward. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common symptom from exercising, and we’re all familiar with that “burn” or soreness the day after exercising. Take your health and fitness to the next level by scheduling a post-workout massage today!

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