Sports massage is used by athletes of all abilities; from the world class elite athlete to the weekend warrior. If you exercise, you should consider sports massage as part of your fitness routine.
When dealing with athletes, a number of different massage techniques may be incorporated into the treatment plan: Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Strain Counterstrain Technique, Myofascial Release, and more. The modalities used vary depending on the athlete, the sport involved, and the goal of the treatment. The treatment is specific to the athlete, focusing on the muscles that receive the most stress.
There are numerous benefits to sports massage:
- Improved flexibility – Massage releases muscle tension and increases the flexibility of your muscles. Research has shown that as little as a 30 second massage of the hip flexors will increase your range of motion. Improved motion equates to better sports performance.
- Shorter recovery time – This is one of the biggest benefits of massage therapy for exercise enthusiasts. Massage increase both blood and lymph fluids. This allows the expulsion of metabolic byproducts, such as lactic acid, from the muscle. Inflammation from muscle overuse is cleared. Additionally, scar tissue is broken up. All of this hastens recovery time. A shorter recovery time means you can train at a greater frequency and achieve your fitness goals quicker.
- Increased circulation – It is widely accepted that massage improves muscle circulation. This has twofold benefits. As mentioned in the point above, it will improve the removal of waste products from muscle. In addition to this, improved circulation means a bigger supply of oxygen and nutrients to your muscle. Anyone that has pushed their body in sport is familiar with the sensation of muscles screaming for more oxygen. Getting more oxygen and nutrients to the muscle improves your strength and endurance.
- Injury prevention – One of the biggest risk factors for sports injuries is a lack of flexibility. Through sports massage, your flexibility is increased. Massage will also get rid of adhesions that develop following workouts. Reducing the adhesions means the muscle is less likely to become damaged. Less strains means you stay in the game.
Depending on your level of activity, a regular massage every one to two weeks is a valuable addition to your fitness regimen. Speak to your registered massage therapist to come up with a plan that is right for you.