Many professional athletes rely on Sports massage, just as much as a healthy diet, to maintain excellent performance and for a speedy recovery after an injury.
Even colleges offering sports programs are now employing message therapists to help athletes in training. Anyone who runs, hikes, cycles, dances, swims, or regularly gets involved in strenuous activities can benefit from sports massage. Golfers, mothers who often carry small children, and even gardeners, may need sports massage.
Types of Massages That Benefit
The body uses muscle groups in a number of ways, for sports or any strenuous activity. Massage therapists who specialize in athletic care are educated on the different muscle groups in the body and how each one reacts to movement or pressure from sports. Swedish massage is the most common massage therapy used in Western cultures for conditioning training. However, acupressure, trigger point, and deep tissue massage techniques are often included.
Some techniques that are often supplemented in sports massage include:
- Lymphatic Massage: This works to stimulate the lymphatic system and helps the body to release excess liquid from tissues and improve joint effusion..
- Deep Tissue Massage: This penetrates through layers of muscles and connective tissues to access deeper layers in an effort to improve posture and enhance flexibility by correcting scar tissue and adhesions in muscles. Adhesions and scar tissue occur regularly among athletic people with muscle injuries and/or inflammation.
- Cross-Fiber Massage: This includes the use of friction and vibration techniques to allow your glutes, chest, hamstrings, quadriceps, and back, to broaden and stretch. This helps to correct adhesions, improve flexibility, and stimulate scar tissue healing.
- Compression Massage: In this technique pressure is applied to the muscles rhythmically to increase blood flow and create a softening effect in muscle tissues. It is usually administered prior to more specific or deeper massage techniques.
- Trigger Point Massage: Pressure is applied, to the connective tissues and trigger points of the muscles, using the thumb and other fingers. This massage technique is often used to improve muscle spasms, pain in the tender points of the muscles, and hypersensitivity. Trigger point massage therapy helps to prevent chronic pain in trigger points during excess movement or while doing
Benefits of Massage for Sport Performance
Sports massage offers athletes number of benefits. Small and large muscle groups in the body are targeted during sporting activities and massage therapy can help to reduce soreness and other symptoms. Some benefits of massage therapy for sports performance include:
- Improves Flexibility and Motion: Rigid muscles are common among athletic individuals due to overstraining key muscle groups. Sports massages stimulate muscle relaxation to improve flexibility and loosen overly tight muscles. Allowing muscles to relax before a sporting event can greatly improve performance.
- Reduce Recovery Time: Sports or any strenuous activity can be stressful on the body. Sports massages can help the body to handle stress from sporting activities and consequently reduce the possibility of injury. Massages enhance lymph fluid and promote proper blood flow to speedup healing and waste removal. Swelling of joints, scar tissue from intense activities, and inflammation are reduced.
- Provides Nutrients and Oxygenated Blood to Muscles: Increased blood circulation results in more nutrients and oxygen in muscles which helps to create new tissues for additional strength and endurance. It also helps to remove built-up of lactic acid, a regular byproduct of intense sporting activities.
- Mental Benefits: Sports massage helps people to cope with different mental issues like stress, depression, and anxiety. The body is only 100% healthy when the mind is heathy. Having a strong mind helps to promote relaxation and helps athletes to focus during sporting activities that can be stressful.
- Lessen Pain: Muscles can easily become overworked during sports and the aftermath is generally excruciating pain. Since massage improves blood and lymphatic flows in muscles, it promotes faster recovery. Pain from muscle contraction and spam can also be treated with massage therapy.
There are many other benefits that athletes can receive from sports massage. From soccer players to golfers, having a massage therapy regularly is essential. Massages can be done in pre-event, intra-event, or post-event stage. Pre-event is done a few hours before the event to enhance performance. While intra-event massage is usually done during time-outs to improve performance and to speed up recovery for preceding events. Finally, post-event massage is done after an intense event to improve recovery. It focuses on eliminating muscle contraction and spams that occurs with strenuous activities. Mental relaxation and tissue repair are all a part of the recovery process.