Massage to Treat Muscle Spasms

Nov 22, 2022 | Guides

Massage can be used to treat a wide range of issues, including the reduction of muscle spasms. Muscle spasms can occur for many different reasons and in many different areas of the body, from neck to wrist to foot. Some are caused by muscle dehydration, poor circulation, lack of stretching (before exercising), and more.

Muscle spasms are the involuntary movement or contractions of muscles that cause pain. They can be mild; in this case, they may be only a twitch. On the other hand, muscle spasms can also be severe; these are usually called a cramp.

No matter what type of muscle spasms you have, massage therapy is an excellent way to bring relief and decrease the pain you have.


Massage Techniques to Reduce Muscle Spasms

What are the best massage techniques to reduce muscle spasms? Massage therapists may use the following massage techniques:


Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is sometimes used to reduce muscle spasms. Muscles can be overexerted, leading to tension build-up within the tissue. The build-up of tension can cause muscles to retract involuntarily (also called muscle spasms).

Deep tissue massage reduces muscle spasms by relieving their built-up tension. This massage technique goes deep into muscle tissue to stretch, loosen, and relax the muscle to relieve the tension/spasm.


Remedial Massage

Remedial massage is another method to reduce muscle spasms. This type of massage is used to relax the patient and their muscles, bringing about physical and mental relaxation.

This message is also used to treat muscular fatigue, which can lead to muscle spasms. To treat this condition, remedial massage uses movements that pull and stretch the muscles, causing the lymphatic flow to increase and the muscles to relax.

Increasing lymphatic flow removes waste products from the muscles, reducing muscle spasms.


Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is also used to treat muscle spasms. This type of massage is done to increase circulation to an area by creating friction between the skin and the therapist’s fingers. Muscle spasms are sometimes caused by a lack of circulation that may cause the build-up of waste products and a lack of oxygen in the muscles.

Here, again, Swedish massage can work to increase blood flow and lymph system circulation, encouraging the replacement of oxygen and nutrients that bring healing.


What Techniques are Used to Reduce Muscle Spasms? 

There are three techniques that are commonly used to reduce muscle spasms including:



Effleurage is a gentle technique that uses long, directional strokes done with flattened hands and fingers. This method increases blood flow, reduces muscle tightness, and relieves muscle tension. These issues can be caused by holding an exercise position for too long, causing overuse of a muscle.

This technique works to stretch and loosen muscles that are overworked to reduce tension and reduce or prevent painful muscle spasms.



Kneading is also used to reduce muscle spasms. Kneading is done by applying firm pressure to pull and squeeze muscles. This action increases friction and improves blood flow.

This technique improves blood flow to the area and reduces muscle tightness and fatigue.


Trigger Pointing

Trigger pointing also works to reduce muscle spasms. This technique uses applied firm pressure on trigger points found in the centre of muscle fibres (also sometimes referred to as knots). Trigger points are usually caused by a build-up of muscle tightness and tension due to overuse of the muscle.

These areas can lead to muscle spasms that are hard and keep the muscle from functioning normally. The result can be a restricted range of movement.

Applying pressure to the trigger point increases blood flow to the area, breaking down the trigger point. The patient may feel a numbing sensation when this occurs. After this, pressure is then released, allowing blood to flow back into the area.

The result is an improved range of movement and a reduction of muscle spasms.


When Can Massage Help Reduce Muscle Spasms? 

Massage can be helpful in reducing muscle spasms in these instances:

  • Acute pain
  • Post Event

When muscle spasms are reduced, this may also reduce the pain a person feels. Pain can vary with muscle spasms. Spasms are the involuntary contraction of a muscle that causes a short burst of pain. The pain can vary in intensity depending on the severity of the spasm.

If spasms occur over and over in the same muscle or in different areas, these muscles then tire and fatigue to constant contraction. It’s a bit like the muscles are being overused. The pain may be achy or sharp. Reducing muscle spasms can help decrease pain and prevent further muscle fatigue.

Post event, reducing muscle spasms can also be beneficial. Muscles that are tired and weak are more prone to developing muscle spasms. The spasms increase pain and may even keep the patient from being able to relax.

After an event, the muscles are usually overworked and full of tension. They may also be dehydrated due to the weather or lack of water intake. Reducing the spasms can decrease pain and muscular fatigue post-event. The patient may then be able to relax and return to training after a period of rest.


The Physiological Effects of Massage on Muscle Spasm Reduction 

Massage brings about physiological changes when muscle spasms are reduced. These changes can include the following:

  • Increased temperature
  • Removal of waste products
  • Increased oxygenation
  • Increased blood & lymphatic flows

These changes occur as a direct result of massage techniques used to reduce muscle spasms. That’s because massage works to bring oxygen, increased blood flow, and lymphatic flow to areas of pain and spasms. The result is the removal of waste products and an increase in oxygen & nutrients to the area. All of this works together to reduce spasms and pain.


Summing It Up

Reducing muscle spasms brings relief of muscle tension and fatigue caused by overuse or overstretching of muscles. Common massage techniques are effective at reducing spasms and decreasing pain in these areas.

If you’re in need of relief from muscle spasms, reach out to a professional massage therapist. They will know the right techniques and methods to help find the relief you need to heal and feel better.

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When you come for a massage at Circle8 we don’t just treat your issue and send you away, we find out exactly which movements and muscles are causing it, explain to you what’s actually happening, give you exercises in the gym and at home that you can do to help alleviate and eventually get rid of your issue.