Massage therapy countless benefits for athletes and people who enjoy sports, including improved performance, faster recovery from injury and injury prevention. It’s hardly surprising that so many athletes and sports lovers are turning to regular massage and making it an essential part of their routine.
Some of the positive effects of massage that athletes particularly benefit from include:
Reduced muscle tension
Better muscle tone
Increased range of motion
Improved soft tissue function
Decreased muscle stiffness
Less muscle fatigue after exercising
Less delayed onset muscle soreness
What is Sports Massage?
Therapeutic sports massage is a specific massage technique. It uses some moves and techniques that are also used in deep tissue massage, and concentrates mainly on the soft tissues, addressing any injuries, aches and pains. There’s evidence that this type of massage can really help, and has even shown that a session of deep massage after an intense workout can actually benefit muscles from within; it can cause muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria. Mitochondria are the parts of the cells that convert nutrients into energy.
In the study carried out at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Canada, researchers asked men to exercise to the point of exhaustion on stationary cycles, then gave them a deep tissue massage on one leg only. Muscle biopsies showed that the deep-tissue massage increased the size and number of new mitochondria more than exercising without massage.
The pressure that’s involved in a sports massage stimulates blood flow so not only does it get the blood pumping; it also means your muscles are warmed up during and after your massage session. That’s on top of the feeling of relaxation that you get, helping you de-stress after working out, and improving your mood. These are the sort of mental benefits that could well give you an edge over your competitors too.
As more research is carried out into how massage can improve your performance, more and more athletes will be taking advantage its long list of feel good benefits.