Most people associate massage with indulgence and relaxation. They think that massage is a once in a while treat that doesn’t have a place in their everyday lives. But with over 600 muscles in the human body it makes sense for massage to be an integral factor in maintaining health and well being. This is most evident when it comes to athletes and sports people. Massage has a very important role to play in the maintenance of an athlete’s body.
Athlete’s need a form of massage specifically designed for maintenance and recovery. Simply put adding sports massage to your training routine can improve your performance and reduce your injury risk. As the training and playing hours mount up, so does the cumulative load on the body’s tissues which can ultimately lead to aches, pains and injury.
Regular sports massage has the following benefits for an athlete:
- · Identifies problem areas before they develop into injuries.
- · Improve range of motion
- · Restore suppleness and elasticity
- · Relax and return muscles to their natural resting length
- · Remove trigger points formed as a result of injury
- · Relieve pain and stress
- · Free muscle adhesions and soften scar tissue caused by injury or overuse
- · Improve circulation
- · Flush out toxins that cause muscle stiffness and soreness
- · Speed recovery and healing from exertion.
Sports massage can be incorporated and provide benefit in all areas of your training. Pre-game it can be an adjunct to your warm up increasing circulation and flexibility, while leaving your muscles resilient and ready to go. It can also help prepare an athlete mentally for the activity ahead. Post-game massage will also increase circulation aiding in the removal of fatigue toxins. It will also help to relieve muscle spasms and prevent soreness.
Massage can also be a great rehabilitation tool as it will speed your healing, increase range of motion and reduce scar tissue allowing your muscles to expand and contract normally. It can also locate areas of biomechanical stress in your muscles and relieve them before they become a problem. This is an important step towards injury prevention and enables you to train harder and more consistently. Sports massage is highly beneficial for athletes who are prone to overuse injuries such as golfer’s and tennis elbow and thrower’s shoulder.
There is no reason to carry soreness and stiffness from your last session or game into the next. With a full recovery your body will be able to adapt to a higher level of stress and massage can be an important step towards making that full recovery.