Massage is a popular way for many people to relax, address soreness or pain in the body, and boost overall health. When it comes to sports massage for athletes and active people, there are also more specific benefits. From supporting quicker and more effective recovery, to improving flexibility and reducing risk of injury, sports massage can offer professional athletes and people who lead very active lives a range of benefits.
WHAT IS SPORTS MASSAGE?
Sports massage is specially designed for anyone – not just athletes – wanting to recover from, prevent, or reduce the risk of soft tissue injury. It’s focused on managing, manipulating, and rehabilitating soft tissues such as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons within the body, with the goal of reducing or minimising tension in your musculoskeletal system. It’s also concerned with treating current strains and tension, as well as preventing future injuries, including repetitive strain injuries.
BENEFITS OF SPORTS MASSAGE
There are numerous potential benefits of sport massage, including supporting healing from previous injuries or strains, to supporting better tissue health and flexibility.
1. RECOVERY FROM STRAINS AND INJURIES
It’s generally accepted as knowledge that massage can help with recovery from injuries and strains, and scientific research backs this up.
Sports massage can support healing from muscle pains and strains, along with restoring muscular imbalances. Having regular sports massage performed can help remodel scar tissue, promoting efficient scar formation after serious trauma or injury, andcan also help break down scar tissue and adhesions. If you have swelling due to strain or injury, sports massage can also help with reducing this. For athletes prone to muscle spasms and nerve irritation due to injury, sports massagecan also be helpful.
There’s research to suggest that massage can assist with healing from muscle fibre damage, and even skin healing.Studies found that muscles that receive massage had improved function, less swelling, and less inflammation than muscles that didn’t receive massage.
According to a study completed by the Ohio State University, the damaged muscle should be massaged for 15 minutes immediately after the injury or damage to boost the chances of recovery. There’s also evidence to suggest that the amount of force that’s applied during massage is more important the amount of time tissue is massaged for.
Muscles that have been worked hard or overstrained can result in micro tears, which can lead to an inflammatory response. This inflammation can be painful or sore for the athlete, which can then lead to reduced muscle function, restricted movement, impaired flexibility, and less power.
All of this can hinder training and performance. Another way to look at how sports massage supports strain and injury recovery is to see it as supporting an athlete’s recovery periods. Integrating sports massage into your training and recovery cycle can boost recovery, reduce the amount of time required for recovery, and in turn improve performance.
2. INJURY PREVENTION AND TISSUE HEALTH
Sports injury can also be helpful as part of an ongoing injury prevention program, helping you promote good muscle and tissue health overall. Sports massage can boost circulation, which allows for better oxygen and nutrition delivery to your muscles. It can also stimulate the athlete’s circulatory and lymphatic systems to allow the body to eliminate waste,metabolic bi-products, and toxins more effectively, thereby promoting better muscle health.
At a general level, sports massage can relieve stress, enhance relaxation, and support general well-being. Sports massage can improve flexibility and joint mobilisation by balancing muscle groups and reducing imbalances. If you get regular professional massages, you could have a better chance of avoiding sports injuries, since massage can support better balancing of muscle groups, as well as the lengthening of the muscles. Some of the types of injury that you can prevent with regular sports massage include tendinitis, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and rotator cuff injuries.
3. NEW WORKOUT ROUTINES
If you’re constantly varying your workout routine or adopting a new workout, sports massage can support you in being more successful and reduce the risk of injury. As you’re likely to be exercising new muscles and working out new parts of your body in different ways, you’re putting these areas under strain. Specialised sports massage can assist you with recovery from these new workouts, and help you to perform better sooner.
If you experience considerable soreness or pain, sport massage can promote healing of damaged tissue, and encourage the growth of new tissue. Your sports massage program could be part of an overall workout-and-recovery system that boosts your muscle range, increases circulation and delivery of nutrients to damaged tissue, and increases overall performance.
Sports massage, like many other types of massage, can have a positive impact on athletes and those who are physically active, simply through relaxation. Sports massage can relax you both psychologically and physiologically. If you’re constantly stressed,adrenal fatigue and other conditions can become an issue that affects your workout and training program. Incorporating relaxation support such as sports massage into your post-workout routine could help you destress, relax better, and in turn recover and perform better.
ENJOYING THE BENEFITS OF SPORTS MASSAGE
Whether you’re just getting started with a new workout routine or you’re a professional athlete wanting a quicker and more effective recovery process, a regular sports massage routine could be an invaluable tool to add to your week.
Want to learn more about sports massage? Check out more from our Sports Massage Series:
In addition, if you’re an athlete or team sport player then a Certificate in Whole Body Massage with Discover Massage Australia will give you the ability to assist your peers with improving their body’s health through the use of massage.