The Benefits of Sports Massage
Find out more about the benefits of sports massage for professional and amateur athletes as well as general pain sufferers.
Sports massage is a common treatment used by sporting professionals, recreational athletes, and general pain sufferers. In this blog, I will explain why sports massage is used by each of these groups of people and why it is beneficial for them.
What Is Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a form of massage used to help recovery after sporting activity and targets the soft tissue. The soft tissue includes tendons, ligaments, muscles and even skin. Sports massage helps repair the damage caused to these areas during strenuous activity. This is what sets sports massage apart from conventional massage, as the latter often has a greater focus on relaxation, although research has shown that sports massage can have a calming effect over time.
You can read more about sports massage from our sports massage expert Lauren right here.
Having worked with international sports players and professional athletes, I can tell you from personal experience that sports massage is highly beneficial to the athlete’s mental and physical wellbeing. I have found that athletes really benefit from having some relaxing “down time”, but also the feeling afterwards of having restored those sore muscles.
From a scientific perspective, there has been a lot of research on the psychological restoration benefits of sports massage. It has been shown to be effective in pre-event psychological readiness, along with the decreasing pre-event anxiety.
One of the major benefits of massage for sporting professionals is the elimination of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS occurs when a heavy load is placed upon a muscle, and the response over the following day or two is pain and stiffness. This is the result of an inflammation response from the micro-tearing of the muscle and is associated with heavy training. Reducing the impact of this will play a major role in recovery and allow the athlete to perform at an optimum level more quickly.
Massage has proven to be effective in facilitating recovery during reparative movements. For someone undergoing marathon training, recreational gym goers who want to look their best, or a Sunday league football player in the middle of a hard season, massage can help shorten the intervals between playing and training. The long-term advantages of better recovery are enormous, giving you a healthier, more resilient body and mind.
General Pain Sufferers
To those unfortunate enough to experience pain that is affecting their lifestyle, pain relief is a must. Massage has been proven to be effective in reducing pain for a variety of pain types, ranging from acute lower back pain to cancer-related pain.
Massage can also have a positive effect in reducing blood pressure and is also useful in reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and is great at restoring a relaxation effect within the mind.
Limitations of Sports Massage
Sports massage has many benefits, but it is important to acknowledge the false perceptions of massage treatment, as your body is your most valuable asset and needs to be respected.
The questions typically asked of sports massage include, “does it reduce muscular tension?” and “does it get rid of lactic acid?”. The answer to both is no, but this shouldn’t put you off as muscular tension can be relieved through osteopathy or physiotherapy (and in some mild cases there are even exercises you can do yourself). Additionally, lactic acid build-up can actually aid muscle power by restoring excitability (the ability to respond to a stimulus) of the muscle cell and the heart.
If you want to know more about how you could benefit from sports massage, get in touch with now to find out more!
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Is there any research we can link to here?
BY: Ed Madeley
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