The Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy

By: Brandon Thomas

It is well known that massage therapy can reduce anxiety, pain and tension and generally feels good. However massage can be more than just relaxing. For athletes massage therapy can be a key contributor to their training regime and considerably enhance their performance. More commonly known as "Sports Massage" massage for athletes utilizes deep muscle working techniques that eliminate toxins in muscle fiber as well as remove adhesions. These techniques applied to athletes, and called Sports Massage, are a combination of Shiatsue and Swedish massage. Some specific methods commonly utilized are pressure point, cross-fiber friction and Swedish strokes. This form of massage can be separated into two sections when it comes to athletes receiving massage: pre-event massage and post-event massage.

Pre-event massage is best done up to two days before your event. This stimulates the flow of nutrients and blood to muscles and produces a mental confidence caused by physiological relaxation. A pre-event massage can significantly improve an athlete's warm up as well. A sports therapist giving chair massage before an event can reduce mental tension before competition. Massage increases circulation reducing the chance of injury. Muscle tension is relaxed and tissue pliability also benefits hugely from pre-performance massage.

A post-performance massage is short and direct in nature. Lasting for approximately 10-15 minutes it usually focuses on the areas specific to the athlete's sport. This massage utilizes compression, compressive and petrissage techniques to spread and ease muscle tension. Post-performance massage is thought to significantly expedite muscle recovery and reduce muscle spasms. Full range of motion is a main objective while increased blood flow to muscles after a work out is another benefit. Other benefits include a shorter recovery time, and a significant decrease in delayed onset muscle soreness. On-site chair massage therapy is a great way for athletes to receive the benefits of Sports Massage during a competition.

Sports massage incorporates the physical, psychological and physiological aspects of the athlete to create balance in the system. The physical effect massage has on the athlete's body is extreme. Lactic acid and other waste products are expedited more quickly out of the system. The improved circulation increases oxygen delivery to muscles, through deep tissue work, which significantly decreases recovery time. The break down of scar tissue and improved muscle elasticity is another advantage. Psychologically speaking massage relaxes the nerves and reduces anxiety and stress. Increased blood flow is generally acknowledged to be good for the immune system, organs and mental health. Physiologically speaking reduced pain will increase the performance of any athlete. The muscle relaxation, which is an obvious benefit of Sports Massage, directly before or after exercise, will increase performance regardless of the type of sport.

Sports Massage promotes recovery and general well being for the serious athlete. Pre and Post massages from trained Sports Massage therapists can greatly reduce risk of injury, improve muscle elasticity and decrease the time it takes to recover from athletic performance.

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