What Is Sports Massage?line1line2
What Are The Benefits Of Sports Massage?line1line2
Sports massage provides a host of benefits for anyone who puts their body through the rigours of physical activity.
Although massage therapy is often associated with elite performers, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to take advantage of the benefits of sports massage.
There are two main categories to explore when it comes to the perks of regular massage sessions: these include physiological and psychological.
Physiological benefits are linked to the body’s response to massage therapy, while psychological advantages are related to the mind.
- Increased Circulation. Massage therapy increases circulation, improving the delivery of oxygen to the muscles both before and after physical activity. Massaging the body can help to prepare the muscles for exercise and to cool the body down after a training session or competitive match.
- Reduced Muscle Soreness. Most of us are familiar with DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness). This often manifests as aches and pains the day after a competition or a vigorous session in the gym. Muscle soreness is associated with high levels of lactic acid in the body. Cooling down can help to reduce muscular pain, but massage therapy can also be beneficial. A study published in the Journal of Athletic Training suggested that sports massage can reduce DOMS by around 30%.
- Injury Prevention. ost athletes live in fear of getting injured. Even a minor injury can throw you off course and impact your performance and progression. In some cases, accidents are inevitable, but there are steps you can take to try and protect your body and to lower the risk of injury. Sports massage can help to reduce the probability of injuries by preparing the body for exercise and aiding post-workout recovery. A study conducted by researchers at McMaster University suggests that sports massage increases the range of muscle motion and reduces recovery time between training sessions.
- Injury Rehabilitation and Pain Management. Rehabilitation should be managed very carefully when coming back from an injury. In most cases, a combination of techniques and treatments is employed to achieve optimum results. Sports massage is a form of therapy, which can be used alongside treatments like medication and physiotherapy to aid recovery and manage discomfort. A study carried out by Oxford University researchers in 2016 revealed that sports massage can be an effective remedy for athletes who are struggling with pain.
- Sleep. Sleep plays a critical role when it comes to achieving the best results out on the field, the court, or the pitch. A lack of sleep can affect concentration, energy levels, and focus, and it can make the difference between winning and losing. The American Massage Therapy Association recommends massage as a means of improving sleep quality based on a study of 30 adults who underwent 5 weeks of massage therapy.
- Posture. Poor posture can affect your technique and increase the risk of back pain and injuries in the shoulders, neck, hips, knees, and ankles. Sports massage can help to improve posture and release tension in the muscles surrounding the spine.
Psychological Benefits Of Sports Massageline1line2
Massage therapy should be combined with proven warm-up techniques and exercises to ensure the body is in peak condition before competition.
Some people also choose to have massages between training sessions or competitions.
If you’re used to competing in several events, or you have a quick turnaround between games, for example, you compete in heptathlons, or you play badminton, tennis, or netball, you might find inter-event massages useful.
These sessions are usually short and fairly light in terms of intensity.
They can help to give you an energy boost, to remove lactic acid, and to reduce the risk of pain.
Post Event Massage
After competing, athletes can benefit from a post-training massage, which is designed to boost recovery, repair, and regeneration.
Athletes should fully rehydrate and complete cool-down sessions before having a massage after training or competing.
In most cases, massages are recommended within 72 hours.
How Does Sports Massage Affect The Body?line1line2
Massage therapy utilises manual techniques and movements to bring about positive effects on the body and mind.
When you have a massage, it will affect your muscles, and you should also notice that it has an impact on your mind.
Massage is known to trigger two main responses: a relaxation response and a mechanical response.
Although sports massage is often associated with deep tissue massage and intensive movement, massage therapy is proven to relax and make you feel calm.
The relaxation response is brought about by a drop in heart rate and stress levels, and it can help you recover after an event, reduce anxiety before training or competing, and clear your mind between sessions.
During and after a massage, you may find that you feel much more relaxed than you did before, and this helps you to adopt a positive mindset and keep stress at bay when you leave the massage table.
In terms of the body’s mechanical response, this is predominantly related to increasing circulation and improving the efficiency of the lymphatic system and by relaxing and releasing tension in the soft tissue.
Increasing circulation improves blood flow, which ensures that more oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to the muscles.
Targeting the lymphatic system improves waste product removal.
Relaxing the muscles can help to prevent pain, injuries and spasms and lower the risk of nerve compression.
What Types Of Sport Is Massage Good For?
Sports massage can offer benefits for all kinds of sports, and it can be rewarding for people who compete at all levels. Massage can be particularly beneficial for intensive activities that take their toll on the body, and for events that require you to recover quickly. Examples include:
- Long-distance and marathon running
- Decathlon, heptathlon, and pentathlon events
- Fighting sports
- Racquet sports