What is Sports Massage?
Sports massage uses hands-on techniques to manipulate the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the body.
It works to improve the efficiency of the musculoskeletal system and is increasingly popular amongst elite sports performers. Sports massage can be stimulating, it can be relaxing, or it can be a relief from pain.
Benefits of sports massage
There is a good reason sports massage is becoming more popular – it works. It offers many benefits for athletes to aid in their game play as well as in their everyday lives.
- Will increase the circulation of blood in the body; this is especially helpful for athletes. The circulation in the muscles slows down during activity, and the muscles become tight and sore a few hours later. After a massage, the muscles will be refreshed by this wash of new, oxygenated blood.
- Increases flow in lymphatic system. This renewed circulation, along with the improved circulation of blood, helps the body carry away waste products. This is a good thing, since athletes’ muscles build up large amounts of different types of waste, such as lactic acid, during prolonged events.
- Prevents or treats a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This condition happens up to 48 hours after exercise, especially if it is not exercise that the athlete is accustomed to doing. This condition cannot only be painful, but it can also affect the player’s ability to perform well in the next event or even cause problems with everyday functioning. Massage can be used to treat this condition in most cases.
- Can improve flexibility; part of a sports massage can be spent with the massage therapist stretching the body parts to improve joint flexibility and relieve joint pain. This passive stretching also improves range of motion for the athlete.
- Can be used to help the athlete prevent injuries; the work that is done on all the muscles and joints makes them more resilient. They help lengthen out shortened, tightened muscles and increase muscle stability. Muscle imbalances can be corrected for more harmonious movements that are less likely to result in injury.
- Sports massage is highly beneficial for those athletes who are prone to overuse injuries, as the muscles are allowed to relax and recover fully before the next exercise session; examples of these injuries include golfer’s and tennis elbow. Massage can also treat certain injuries that have already occurred such as sprains, strains, plantar fasciitis, and tendinitis.
- During a sports massage, the therapist might work with scar tissue to improve its position and texture and to help reduce it. Scar tissue from muscle damage can be a limiting factor in sports ability.
- Can be used to either sedate or stimulate the nerve endings. In a pre-event massage it would be important to do everything to stimulate the muscles and nerves for the game ahead. In a post-event massage, relaxation is the key to success.
A sports massage is not a cure for every sports-related injury or defect, however, it has it has been helping athletes reach their peak practice and performance levels for several years