Sports massage was originally meant for athletes, to prevent and relieve injuries. But today, this type of massage can benefit non-athletes who often exercise as well.
A sports massage involves different massage techniques that are tailored to the activities you engage in. These include effleurage, petrissage, frictions, and tapotement. When administered by a therapist who has completed the proper sports massage therapy courses, it helps your body to cope with the increased stress you place on them each time you engage in physical activities. The manipulation of the soft tissues before and after exercise will promote changes in your body to help performance and recovery.
Here are seven ways that sports massage can keep you healthy and strong after engaging in sports and other physical activities.
1. It prevents the occurrence of DOMS
Delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS starts to develop within 12-24 hours after you exercise, resulting in pain. Sports massage prevents its occurrence by promoting proper lymph and blood flow through your entire body, thus preventing muscle fatigue after exercise has been performed.
2. It reduces stress and pain
Like any other type of massage, a sports massage will help you manage your stress levels. Once your body receives a massage, your body will release endorphins, which is a neurotransmitter that acts as a pain reliever. Also, this can boost your state of well-being as well as enhance your mood.
3. It prevents injuries
If your body receives sports massage consistently, this can result in an increased range of motion. For an athlete, a high degree of flexibility is vital because this can help maintain optimal performance.
Sports massage will help your overly tense muscles to relax so they become more flexible. Remember that a muscle that is warmed-up before exercise is less likely to suffer injury. Take note though that massage must not replace the traditional warm-up exercises; rather, this should only complement a great warm-up.
4. It boosts performance
Every athlete or gym enthusiast is driven by their ambition – to jump or throw further, to run their distance faster, to outperform their competitors, or to lift heavier weights. So if you have such an ambition, you must be on the look-out for tips you can implement to get that edge. Of course, these implements must be within regulation and ethical.
Luckily, sports massage can provide you this edge. Studies have shown that the manipulation of soft tissue and muscles can boost one’s athletic performance. Trained massage therapists will have successfully gone through the right anatomy and physiology courses and will use their knowledge of massage and how the human body works to prep the athlete for optimal functioning.
5. It promotes relaxation
Receiving sports massage on a regular basis will improve the quality and quantity of sleep for you. Also, it helps with anxiety since it lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. A well-rested body will experience improved performance.
If you are suffering from sleep deprivation or anxiety and it’s interrupting your way of life, sports massage can be part of a good treatment plan for you.
6. It helps fight off depression
Sports massage can also have a positive effect on your psychological well-being. Once the massage therapists manipulate your body, this causes the release of serotonin and endorphins into your bloodstream. These are feel-good chemicals that give you a positive outlook on your life, thus preventing depression.
Furthermore, sports massage can have a either a relaxing or stimulating effect on your nervous system, making you more mentally focused.
7. It addresses muscle tightness and tension
Sports injuries can re-occur if your muscles have restricted access to oxygen while you are exercising. This can cause muscle tightness, resulting in ligament tears and overextension. Since sports massage encourages your circulatory system to function properly, your muscles will now have enough access to oxygenated blood and thus relieves tightness.
Muscle tightness and tension are also caused by lactic acid build-up in your muscles. Once your body has low oxygen levels, lactic acid will start to build up, and this can result in trigger points or knots in your muscles. Sports massage will help break down this build-up. Also, it lets your body flush the lactic acid to be replaced with oxygenated blood.
Indeed, sports massage offers several health benefits for any individual, and not only those who engage in sports. So if you are suffering from muscle or joint stiffness and pain, consider getting a sports massage from a well-trained therapist today.
Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. He spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.