9 Reasons Why Sports Massages Can Boost Your Health and Performance
Are you on the hunt for new ways to optimise your health and athletic performance? Then you need to make a foray into the exciting world of sports massage.
Not just for professional athletes, sports massages are an affordable way to bring you’re A-game and avoid injury. The ancient treatment is backed by science, so even the most skeptical among us can rest assured it actually works.
Not yet convinced? Here are nine reasons why a sports massage can boost your health and performance.
1. It’s a refined art form
Sports massage is essentially an adapted version of the body massage, an ancient practice which dates back almost 5,000 years. Those familiar with body massages will notice some similarities on their first sports massage, particularly the effleurage and petrissage techniques which involves circular and squeezing movements with the palm.
However, a sports massage includes more concentrated techniques as well. One is myofascial, a neuromuscular treatment that identifies pain points and aids recovery by reducing pressure on the joints. The specialist technique focuses on soft tissue such as ligaments, fascia, and tendons.
2. It has a clear set of objectives
As a refined form of massage, the sports remedial massage focuses on three primary goals that are important to every athlete: improving performance, aiding recovery, and reducing the likelihood of injury.
Ultimately, a faster recovery improves performance because it allows the athletes to train more frequently. The same applies for avoiding injury.
3. It reduces delayed onset muscle soreness
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOM) is a sensation of muscle stiffness that everyone experiences after a strenuous workout, particularly one that involves the legs. The condition occurs through something called eccentric contraction, which is when our muscles become longer as they contract. Scientific studies have shown that sports massage can hasten the recovery of DOM by as much as 30%.
4. Chiropractors have specialist training
A vast amount of specialist knowledge is required to give an effective sports massage. Furthermore, a sports massage can further damage the muscles if not administered properly.
For these two reasons, a chiropractor must undertake extensive training to practice the trade, and must have impeccable knowledge of human anatomy. Therefore, you’ll be sure you’re in safe hands with a certified chiropractor.
5. It can work wonders before an event
Professional athletes and sporting enthusiasts alike can reap the benefits of a pre-event massage. These tailor-made treatments borrow techniques from the Swedish massage to stretch soft tissue, enhance joint mobility, and promote focus and relaxation. Most choose to receive the massage within a few hours of the event, although it can be effective as early as one week prior.
6. It helps to give players a boost during an event
Commonly referred to as a pit stop maintenance massage, some coaches have begun massaging their players during the half-time break to reduce the onset of stiffness. Less soreness and more mobility may provide the competitive edge an athlete needs to win a competition. Of course, the logistics and cost involved mean this one is better left for the professionals.
7. It has an array of therapeutic benefits as well
Because the sports massage incorporates many of the same techniques as the body massage, it also provides many of the same benefits.
Sports massages have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety by prompting the brain to release endorphins, which reduce pain and evoke a sensation of calm. Furthermore, sports massages can promote positive hemodynamic changes that lower blood pressure and the heart rate. If necessary, it can be adapted to treat musculoskeletal conditions as well.
8. It reduces toxins
Over time, toxins will accumulate around your joints, which could eventually lead to injury if left untreated. Chiropractors apply pressure to various parts of the body, which improves circulation by supplying blood to our muscle tissues and sending it back to the heart in a process called venous return. The latter is what helps flush out the toxins in our joints.
9. It’s a time-old practice
The body massage, from which the sports massage stems, has been around for a heck of a long time. Some scholars believe the Chinese first began practicing massage as far back as 2,700 BC. Similar techniques were later used across the ancient Japanese, Egyptian, and Greek empires, all of whom discovered its benefits independently from one another. Given its longevity, it’s safe to say massage is a legitimate medical practice with proven benefits.
Next time you find yourself with stiff and sore muscles after an epic workout, then remember that a sports massage is the ideal therapy for you.