Sports massage is reported to have many beneficial effects in athletes. Sports massage can be used pre-performance, post-performance, during training or for rehabilitation. Athletes of all levels may benefit from sports massage. If you are looking for a way to improve your athletic performance, then sports massage may be for you. Learn more about the possible performance enhancing effects of sports massage Athletes that realize the importance of Sport massage have better performance and endurance, reduce their recover time and lessen the chance for injury.
All athletes, should consider massage as part of their routine.
What are the Benefits of Sports Massage?
Many benefits from sports massage have been reported based on experience and observation. Some of the benefits are to the mind (psychological) and some are to the body (physiological). Possible side effects of sports massage are tenderness or stiffness for 1 to 2 days after the sports massage. A skin reaction due to the massage oils is also possible. But for the most part, sports massage is safe.
Sports massage has many benefits. The healthy athlete, as well as the injured athlete, may benefit from quality massage therapy. Listed are some of the many benefits of sports massage for athletes.
Increased suppleness and resiliency in the muscles, tendons and ligaments. This decreases the chances of injuries and improves the recovery from injuries.
Improved circulation. The blood flow is improved to the areas that are massaged. This increase in circulation helps provide the nutrients needed for recovery and building of new muscle tissue. This improved circulation also helps to remove waste products and toxins often produced in working or injured muscles.
Improved proprioception. Massage helps to improve the mind-muscle link and therefore improves fine and gross motor control. Knowing the position of the body, and its parts in relation to each other, is an important aspect of any sport activity.
Inflammation and swelling reduction. Massage above and around an injured area may help reduce swelling and inflammation.
Increased joint mobility. Joints; or the muscles surrounding them, that are traumatized or overworked tend to tighten and become stiff. Massaging the muscles and soft tissues around a joint may help relax the joint and lead to overall relaxation.
Pain reduction. Massage helps relieve painful muscle spasms and cramping. It also helps increase blood flow to peripheral nerves that may be damaged from injury.
Injury treatment. Many injuries, especially soft-tissue injuries, will benefit from massage treatment. This is especially true during recovery. Massage helps to break up scar tissue and lesions that often cause stiffness and pain during recovery and helps athletes return to a normal range of motion quicker.
Improving hormone release and lymphatic system response. Some hormones are secreted in response to the stimulation of the muscles and their nerve cells. Massage stimulates these sites and may open the hormone receptors in these sites as well. Improving circulation helps overall lymphatic response as well.
Relaxation. The reduction of pain and stiffness helps bring about a state of relaxation. Massage has also been shown to release hormones responsible for relaxation and euphoria.
And don't forget to incorporate some gentle stretching exercises with your massage; as this will help to further enhance the benefits of massage.
Stretching is one of the most underutilized techniques for improving athletic performance and getting rid of those annoying sports injuries. Don't make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won't be effective.
If you ask someone their reason for getting a massage, you’re very likely going to hear “because it feels good”. We all know a good massage can relieve stress, helps with relaxation, and can make sore muscles feel better and even reduce anxiety, but can it help us achieve our fitness goals?
Research shows that the massage you get to relieve stress can also have a positive effect on your muscle-building capabilities and fitness level.
- Massage improves circulation and general nutrition of muscles. This appears to be the most valuable fitness-related benefit. Massage is accompanied or followed by an increase interchange of substances between the blood the tissue cells, which increases tissue metabolism. After a muscle is exercised, vital nutrients must be supplied in order for it to increase in size. A massage can maximize the supply of nutrients and oxygen though increased blood flow, which helps the body rebuild itself.
- Massage can improve the range of motion and muscle flexibility. This results in increased power and performance, which can help you work efficiently and with proper intensity to facilitate the body’s muscle-building response.
- Massage helps to shorten recovery time between workouts. Waste products such as lactic and carbonic acid build up in muscles after exercise. Increased circulation to these muscles help to eliminate toxic debris and shorten recovery time.
- It can help prevent over-training. Massage has a relaxing effect on the muscles, as well as a sedative effect on the nervous system. This can prevent over-training syndrome which has limiting effect on muscle building.
- Massage may aid in fat loss. According to some research, massage may burst the fat capsule in subcutaneous tissue so that the fat exudes and becomes absorbed. In this way, combined with proper nutrition, massage may help in weight loss.
- By stretching connective tissue, massage improves circulation to help prevent or break down adhesion's. Massage also influences the excretion of certain fluids (nitrogen, phosphorous, sulfur) necessary for tissue repair.
While a massage won’t build muscle directly, it helps to facilitate the body’s rebuilding phase following a workout and influences muscular growth. Getting a massage is just as important as regular workouts and supportive nutrition for a comprehensive fitness program. Great news for those of us who thought building a great body was all hard work!
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