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Spring is in full bloom and now is the season for 5K runs, half and full marathons, baseball, and what ever other sport you enjoy during this season. With these sports, come the chance of pain and injury. Pain and injury can also come from other outdoor activities besides sports. Yard work and spring cleaning are also reasons to keep your muscles pain and injury free. Properly administered sports massage can improve your overall athletic readiness and treat specific problems that could be holding you back during your training. From injury prevention, to warm up, to cool down, massage therapy has the ability to benefit every part of an athlete’s training program.
List of Benefits of Massage for Athletes
Many athletes consider sports massage to be an essential part of their training and recovery routine.
- Pain Reduction — Massage can help cut the pain from recovering injuries or tight areas of muscle, promotes the proper healing of scar tissue, and provides a soothing effect to any injured areas.
- Injury Prevention — During a massage, your muscles will be stretched and your joints will be moved through their proper range of motion. Just like a pre-event warm up, this ensures that your muscles are in a pliable state and that your joints are warmed up and ready to go.
- Relaxation and Focus — Massage decreases stress and increases focus, and can put you in a good psychological state before your event.
- Post-Event Recovery — The strokes of sports massage mimic the normal flow of the lymphatic and circulatory syste, which drains waste from the muscle tissue. Massage can help dissolve waste fluids such as lactic acid and lead to shorter recovery time.
Therapeutic Sports Massage
Therapeutic sports massage is a type of massage technique that focuses on treating soft tissue aches, pain, and injuries that are associated with recreational activities. Massage can reduce muscle stiffness and improve relaxation by reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
Researchers at McMaster University have reported that deep tissue massage, after an intense workout, actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria. Mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells, are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy.
The pressure of massage may also improve blood flow during the massage and increase muscle temperature. Massage reduces heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. Most people report a feeling in pure relaxation, reduced anxiety, and improved mood as a result. Athletes may indeed find an edge in these psychological benefits. For most athletes, enjoying less muscle stiffness and improving relaxation and well-being is reason enough to enjoy regular sports massage.