Your butt: It's not just for sitting on. In fact, it contains the largest muscle in your body -- the gluteus maximus -- and, as a whole, the glutes are responsible for a wide range of movements and for providing stability for your entire body.
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When underactive or injured, they can cause pain in the knees, hips and lower back -- the same pain that many people seek out massage therapy to treat. As long as it's performed by a professional in an appropriate manner, butt massage offers a host of benefits for better movement and pain relief throughout your body.
Promotes Better Sports Performance
The glutes are the "posterior power center," according to strength and conditioning coach Fraser Quelch. They're involved in practically all sports and activities, including golf, sprinting, throwing, jumping and changing directions.
Glutes that don't "fire," or activate, properly can reduce speed, strength, power and agility. They can also increase the risk for injury. A good sports massage therapist -- perhaps in addition to a physical therapist -- can determine why the glutes may not be firing properly and address any muscular issues through targeted massage.
Improves Movement in Daily Life
Your glutes play a big a role in normal activities you perform every day; for example, when you squat down to pick up a large box, or stand up from a sitting position. If your glutes are tight or not firing correctly, you're likely to experience discomfort and even weakness in your activities of daily living.
When you're having pain or restricted movement in your hips or lower back, a massage therapist can first determine if the problem originates in the glutes, and then provide the appropriate course of massage therapy to address the issue.
Reduces Knee Pain
An imbalance caused by inactivity in one of the glutes is a common cause of painful knees. According to exercise physiologist Dr. Joel Seedman, chronic knee pain is often an early sign of glute inactivity. Seedman says if your knees constantly hurt -- in daily life as well as when exercising or playing a sport -- the glutes are most likely the problem. Along with performing exercises to get the glutes firing, glute massage can help relieve tightness in the glutes and hips that may be contributing to the pain.
Relieves Lower Back Pain
More than 80 million Americans can expect to experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Tight glutes put pressure on the lower back and are often to blame for low back pain.
Sciatica is another common form of back pain caused by tight glutes and a tight piriformis muscle, which underlies the glutes. This tightness puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, which shoots through the piriformis. Shooting pain from your low back through your hips and even down your leg is a telltale sign.
Massaging the butt relaxes the muscles in the butt and hips and releases pressure from the sciatic nerve. Massage also promotes the release of endorphins -- pain-fighting hormones -- into your blood, which can provide temporary relief from the pain.
Read more: The Benefits of Swedish Massage