As an athlete, you can derive significant health and performance benefits from receiving regular sports massage therapy. Sports massage therapy is a form of massage therapy that helps athletes recover from or avoid sports-related injuries, and typically utilizes more vigorous forms of massage to facilitate muscle healing or relaxation.
Sports massage therapy should be performed before and after a competition to prevent injuries and loss of mobility and maximize the life of your sporting career.
According to SportsInjuryClinic.net, the physical benefits of sports massage therapy include the following: improved blood flow and nutrient delivery to your muscles, efficient clearing of harmful metabolic byproducts, tension reduction in your fascia, reduction of your scar tissue, improved tissue elasticity and improvements in your tissue’s ability to absorb nutrients, also known as micro-circulation.
The physical benefits of sports massage therapy are important for all athletes, especially those engaged in sports where physical contact and bruising are likely, such as football, rugby or ice hockey. Endurance athletes also are excellent candidates for sports massage therapy. Long training hours and the nature of competitive endurance activities, such as running, cycling and cross-country skiing, place considerable strain on your musculoskeletal system.
Sports massage therapy helps relieve stress on your joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
The psychological benefits of sports massage include a reduction in your approach anxiety, enhanced feelings of invigoration and rejuvenation and an increased awareness of your mind-body connection, according to SportsMassageTherapy.info. Approach anxiety, which is the anxiety you feel about an upcoming match or event, is a common part of sports participation.
A massage therapist skilled in the art of sports massage will know what techniques to use to help counter your anxiety. The simple act of having your body worked on can give you a psychological edge that reduces your anxiety. After you’ve received a sports massage, it’s likely that you’ll feel a little sore, but you’ll also feel invigorated and refreshed, ready to compete again at your highest level.
The restorative effects of massage therapy and the corresponding psychological benefits are crucial for your continued athletic success. So too is an awareness of your mind-body connection, which massage therapy supports.
The principal physiological benefits of sports massage therapy include pain reduction and relaxation; two important benefits that can keep you healthy and competitive over time.
– Sports-related pain can result from a muscle strain, a contusion or bruise or excessive use of a muscle.
– Overuse of a muscle or muscle group may result in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), a phenomenon that’s long been associated with increased physical exertion, according to Len Kravitz, Ph.D., an exercise scientist at the University of New Mexico.
A 2005 study published in the “Journal of Athletic Training,” concludes that massage therapy is effective in alleviating DOMS by approximately 30 percent and reducing swelling, but it has no effects on muscle function.
Muscle relaxation is another important physiological benefit of sports massage therapy. Muscles relax when they’re exposed to heat, receive increased blood circulation and are stretched appropriately; all common results of effective sports massage therapy session. A reflex relaxation also is caused when your mechanoreceptors–tiny sensory receptors that respond to pressure or changes in tissue length–are stimulated during the massage.
Massage therapy can provide you with an awareness of your body that few other therapeutic modalities can match.
SportsInjuryClinic.net: Sports Massage—Benefits and Effects
University of New Mexico: Treating and Preventing DOMS
“Journal of Athletic Training;” Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling, and Recovery of Muscle Function; 2005
SportsMassageTherapy.info: Psychological Effects of Massage