Elite athletes consider sports massage an unmissable and totally crucial part of their weekly routine to enhance performance, prevent injuries and boost recovery. Whether you’re off to compete at the Olympics, are a casual runner, taxi driver or office worker, everyone’s likely to experience discomfort from tight muscles and soft tissues at some point. A sports massage is not a beauty treatment, it’s a deep tissue massage which releases stress and tension from soft tissues that build up during physical activity or repetitive use. If you’ve not had one, I would strongly recommend you try one. It can relieve muscle pain (including referred pain such as tension headaches), prevent injury and increase mobility. There are so many other benefits too.
- It counteracts all that sitting you do. Most individuals are dealing with some kind of postural stress in work. Sports massage is perfect for people that sit in one place for long periods of time. Maybe you drive a Lorry, work at a computer all day, or just enjoy hours of Xbox. Luckily, massage can counteract the muscle tension caused by prolonged postures making your work life easier and less painful.
- Improves flexibility and increased mobility. Aggressive training can tighten and toughen the muscles, preventing them from stretching correctly. Sports massage will improve muscular mobility and can correct imbalances, as well as releasing accumulated tensions from the sheaths around the muscles.
- Releases scar tissue. Specific techniques can separate muscle fibers that have either become adhered to one and another, or to other soft tissues structures around them. This again will all help with mobility.
- Stronger flow of blood and nutrients. Overtrained muscles are tough and rock-like, which can squeeze out blood and nutrients, thus depriving the muscles of what they need! Better circulation which comes from softer, massaged muscles will consequently improve the supply of nutrients to tissues improving their health and aiding in healing and repair. Blood vessels dilate and membrane pores widen during the massage, which allows better oxygen passage, as well as nutrients for restoration of the muscles.
- Gets rid of excess lactic acid. Through increased blood flow, sports massage helps in the removal of metabolic waste products from tissues, further assisting in recovery from activity.
- Reduces pain. By removing the pressure build-up suffered from congestion and metabolic irritants, sports massage can help to relieve pain. This is compounded by the release of endorphins.
- It reduces stress. Before an interview, race, or even a date, it can alleviate the tension in your muscles and your mind. An overwhelming amount of evidence suggests that massage can actually slash most physiological markers of stress. One Korean study found that patients who got hand massages five minutes before cataract surgery had significantly lower heart rates, blood pressure, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those who went into surgery without.
- It eases delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) the muscular discomfort experienced a day or two after a hard training session or race. The pumping and squeezing action of massage strokes will encourage blood and lymph flow throughout the body, which can help prevent muscle fatigue and encourage better oxygenation.
- Promotes relaxation. Sports massage stimulates your mechanoreceptors (sensory receptors which respond to touch), and as your body relaxes, endorphins are released which lift the mood and de-stress the body, minimising anxiety.
- It fends off headaches. Lots of things can trigger a headache, but many stem from tension in the neck that restricts blood flow to the brain. A neck massage can boost blood flow and alleviate the pain. Also, research suggests that massage also reduces frequency and severity among chronic headache suffers, and also helps with chronic pain syndrome.
- Boosts performance. More oxygen flowing to muscle tissues which are lithe and mobile, nourished and free from toxins and knotted tension, is surely going to lead to a higher quality and more sustainable level of activity. The most important thing with sports massage is that you find a specially trained massage therapist who has mastery of a wide range of techniques and knows when to use them.
- It reduces muscle soreness — even if you DIY! According to a recent International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy study in which adults did a whole lot of deadlifts (an exercise that seriously exhausts the back of your thighs), then either rested or used a foam roller to self-massage the hamstrings for 10 minutes. Afterward, the group who foam-rollered reported less of the muscle soreness and pain that can interfere with things like effectively walking out of the gym and driving home without complaint.
As you can see there are many benefits to sports massage and you don’t have to be sporty to get one. If you’re thinking of giving it a go, make sure your practitioner is fully qualified like our physios at One 2 One. For more information, please contact us on 01656 652635.