Whether you’re a devoted athlete or just an enthusiast, we all share the same emotion when we hear the word “massage.” A much-needed remedy. Its only purpose isn’t just to alleviate the pain one is experiencing; its approach is very “hands-on” (not an accidental pun), but its effect is holistic, a full-on overhaul of well-being. We know it feels good, but do we understand the math behind this ancient mastery? Here are the benefits of sports massage for athletes.
There is a difference
It’s called a “sports massage” for a reason. Although regular massage therapy does help with stress-induced tension and moderate soreness, its primary focus and goal is relaxation. On the other hand, getting a sports massage is more like a doctor’s visit; it listens to your symptoms, targets the painful area, and finds the cure accordingly. Each athlete’s body reacts differently to injury and stress. Thus, their treatment needs will vary greatly. Only a licensed sports massage therapist will have extensive knowledge of biomechanics – how muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments work in unison, physiology, and anatomy.
Techniques used by sports massage therapists include:
- Effleurage – stroking motion
- Swedish style massage
- Petrissage – kneading motion
- Tapotement – tapping / cupping
- Friction – scar tissue treatment
Athletes and injuries are a match made in heaven; you can get enough sleep, improve your habits of eating and drinking well, and take all the necessary steps to be on top of your game – getting hurt is almost always inevitable. Almost always, getting a sports massage could prevent injury during training if done right. It produces mechanical pressure, which results in muscle relaxation, as the muscle becomes more flexible and “awake .”Muscle stiffness is any athlete’s arch-enemy, and good, old warm-ups can’t rise to the challenge when it comes to injury prevention.
Achilles tendinitis, ankle sprains, groin strains, muscle pulls, lower back pain, shin splints. Well, we can’t prevent them all, can we? One funky, sudden move – and you’re benched for the day. Maybe weeks. Even months. Ligaments and tendons are like rubber bands; if you take them too far, you won’t be able to get them back to their neutral position and shape; they will break. Our experts from DubaiPT advise all athletes to include sports massage therapy as necessary means to a speedier recovery.
Lactic acid relief
It plays a vital role in terms of the proper functioning of our organs, cells, and tissues. When our bodies are low on oxygen (high-intensity training), our muscles produce lactic acid in high quantities, resulting in muscle soreness, fatigue, and a burning sensation. You don’t have to be an athlete to fall victim to this specific discomfort. Getting a sports massage could alleviate the side effects of high levels of lactic acid, as it increases the lymphatic fluid flow, ensuring an easier clearance of the culprit.
One of the benefits of sports massage for athletes would be decreased anxiety levels. Anxiety is the most common coping mechanism among humans; it tries to prepare us for fight or flight situations which we can directly link to an important, upcoming game and performance anxiety. Our blood pressure is high, and our heart rate goes through the roof, even if we are young and overall healthy. It takes a toll on us when feelings of anxiety become perpetual. If used continuously, massage treatment could mend unwanted worries and thoughts, leaving you in a more positive and relaxed state of mind.
Sleep is the single most important ingredient to a healthy body and mind. We can go without food for weeks but deprive us of REM for more than 24 hours, and the body starts shutting down. Rest is crucial for all athletes, whether they are NFL running backs or a 9-year-old girl skipping rope in her backyard. Everyone deserves a break. Resting and relaxation are key to your physical performance and overall well-being, and regular massage treatments improve your quality of sleep.
We’re not promoting medication here. Massage therapy is known for being a natural mood stabilizer. It directly impacts your emotional apparatus through hormone stimulation. The adrenal glands can be very unpredictable; they flood our bodies with cortisol and adrenaline without us having a say in it. When you’re an athlete, the last thing you need is feeling drained after the hormonal rush; your conditioning program will suffice. Living a happier and healthier life as we get older is something we all strive for. Hence, keeping cortisol onslaughts under control should be our priority.
Increased blood circulation
Recent research shows that massage therapy improves your blood flow. Stretching and other techniques lower your blood pressure and decrease the stiffness of the arteries. An increased blood flow means oxygen; oxygen means vital nutrients and proper absorption, feeding your body and brain with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. As an athlete, you might be renowned for getting the best green supplements on the market and eating a healthy diet, but if your body can’t absorb it properly, what’s the use?
That’s not all
There are myriad benefits one can obtain through sports massage therapy:
- Your body improves its ability to be flexible
- Neurological agitation lessens
- Muscle spasms subside
- Less recovery time between workouts
- Your joint range of motion improves
- It fights off depression
- You are less prone to injury
The important thing
The benefits of sports massage for athletes are not exclusively reserved for athletes. You can be a construction worker, a stay-at-home mom, a baker, or a waiter. We can all have sore muscles, a twisted tendon, or a pulled ligament. You don’t even have to have a high-intensity job; slipping on your bathroom floor will make you join the band. Taking care of our bodies and minds is the only responsibility we were given at birth, and it isn’t to be taken lightly. Getting a massage regularly might be just the thing to keep that promise.