Sports massage can help maintain the body in generally better condition, prevent injuries and loss of mobility, cure and restore mobility to injured muscle tissue, boost performance and extend the overall life of your sporting career.
Like exercise itself, the benefits are cumulative, meaning the more regularly you receive a massage, the more you’ll reap their advantages. Think of it as preventative maintenance.
- Reduce muscle tension by decreasing muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise
Massage can alleviate muscle pain. If an athlete is stiff and sore due to an injury or working hard, he or she will not be performing at their peak with regular massage, muscle pain can be curbed and the athlete can perform at peak without being distracted by pain or injury. This occurs by removing lactic acid build up in the muscle and stripping the muscle of any other toxins.
- Promote relaxation by encouraging better sleep patterns
Regular massage can actually improve the quantity and quality of sleep by relaxing the athlete and easing off any muscle pain therefor the athlete is well rested and ready to perform.
- Helps Prevent injuries
Consistent massage increases flexibility which leads to an increase in the range of motion a muscle requires. For an athlete to maintain optimal performance, they must have a high degree of flexibility. No matter which sport or sports the athlete is involved in, if a client can gain more flexibility from massage, then they will have an advantage over there competitors since massage stretches the muscle fibres, flexibility is promoted and maintained.
- Improves blood and movement circulation
With better circulation, the athlete can breathe easier and move more smoothly. Since the practice of massage helps with blood flow, by pumping it back to the heart quicker to me oxygenated thus improving an athlete’s performance.
- Dilates the blood vessels supplying fresh nutrients
Massage acts to dilate the blood vessels which increases the efficiency of both supplying fresh nutrients to the tissues and eliminating metabolic wastes out of the body at a faster rate.
- Helps drain sluggish lymphatic material
Massage acts as a mechanical cleanser, helping to drain sluggish lymphatic material. Good lymphatic circulation is very important for ridding the body of toxic materials like lactic acid build up and calcium which are commonly known as ‘knots’.
- Improves muscle tone
Massage improves muscle tone by mechanically stimulating inherent reflexes found within muscle fibres. (This is particularly important to those who do not obtain adequate daily exercise due to a sedentary lifestyle or long periods of convalescence.)
- Prevents adhesions
When muscle fibres start to adhere together it restricts their full range of motion. Transverse massage strokes help to prevent adhesions from occurring in between the muscle fibres, again these adhesions are commonly known as knots. Adhesions build up bigger and the muscle cannot do its job to the best of its ability with the restriction stopping the flexibility in the muscle. Eg. The muscles belly becomes short and tight.
- Has a stimulating or sedative effect on the nervous system
Massage can have either a stimulating or sedative effect on the nervous system creating a more mentally focussed athlete. If you are mentally focussed you are going to get the best out of your physical attributes.
Written by Joanne Jones – practising Remedial Massage Therapist at Aspire Wellbeing