Massage therapy countless benefits for athletes and people who enjoy
sports, including improved performance, faster recovery from injury
and injury prevention. It’s hardly surprising that so many athletes and
sports lovers are turning to regular massage and making it an essential
part of their routine.
Some of the positive effects of massage that athletes particularly benefit from include:
• Reduced muscle tension
• Better muscle tone
• Promoting relaxation
• Increased range of motion
• Improved soft tissue function
• Decreased muscle stiffness
• Less muscle fatigue after exercising
• I mproved performance
• Less delayed onset muscle soreness
• Fewer injuries
What is Sports Massage?
Therapeutic sports massage is a specific massage technique. It uses
some moves and techniques that are also used in deep tissue massage,
and concentrates mainly on the soft tissues, addressing any injuries,
aches and pains. There’s evidence that this type of massage can really
help, and has even shown that a session of deep massage after an
intense workout can actually benefit muscles from within; it can cause
muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria. Mitochondria are the
parts of the cells that convert nutrients into energy.
In the study carried out at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Canada, researchers asked men to exercise to the point of exhaustion on stationary cycles, then gave them a deep tissue massage on one leg only. Muscle biopsies showed that the deep-tissue massage increased the size and number of new mitochondria more than exercising without massage.
The pressure that’s involved in a sports massage stimulates blood flow so not only does it get the blood pumping; it also means your muscles are warmed up during and after your massage session. That’s on top of the feeling of relaxation that you get, helping you de-stress after working out, and improving your mood. These are the sort of mental benefits that could well give you an edge over your competitors too.
If those benefits are enough to make you want to book a regular massage as part of your essential training, you wouldn’t be alone. More and more professional and recreational athletes are cottoning on to the benefits of massage therapy, and making it an essential part of their regime. As more research is carried out into how massage can improve your performance, more and more athletes will be taking advantage its long list of feel good benefits.