If you don’t know about the specific benefits of massage therapy on athletes, you have probably at least heard that they exist. Some examples are increased energy, quicker recovery, or better performance. Let’s look at some specifics of why massage therapy should be a part of every athlete’s training program.
Massage feels great, but it’s also good for you!
• Helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system by increasing oxygen from red blood cells to the muscles. More oxygen to muscles means more energy.
• Helps to break up adhesions in the muscle fibers, helping muscles better do what they’re supposed to do—create motion.
• Helps break down scar tissue. Inflexible tissues are prone to injury and pain.
• Helps to increase blood circulation, which means muscle tension is relieved, recovery is faster, and muscle soreness is reduced.
• Helps reduce inflammation and increases production of cellular mitochondria, the energy producing factory of our cells.
• Can improve tissue elasticity. Massage stretches tissues that have become inflexible.
• When muscles are in a relaxed state, there is a boost in range of motion and flexibility.
• Can prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Massage can greatly reduce DOMS after a workout or training session.
Research has proven that athleticism does not only depend on physical strength. Massage can either lower or raise blood pressure, depending on the massage techniques used. Lowering the blood pressure helps athletes who are recovering, may be nervous before an event, or are seeking a more positive mood. A quick, vigorous massage can raise the blood pressure, which can help athletes prepare their minds and muscles to spring into action.
We hear that athletes should “work hard, play hard”, and I’d like to add “rest hard”. Rest cannot be overemphasized in an athlete’s performance. Massage therapy can play an important role in athletes’ rest regimes.
Massage can help the body release endorphins. Endorphins are natural pain relievers and can help reduce anxiety while enhancing a positive state of well-being.
I love massaging athletes. I love the relief from pain I hear them tell me about, I love hearing about their successes and even failures. I love figuring out how to help them achieve the goals they have set for themselves, and I love how surprised many are by how much massage therapy has helped them. I’m happy that athletes are curious, and that I’m constantly learning new things from, and for, them.
Check out Andrea’s Bio page for information about our licensed massage Therapist and to find her hour