Northern beaches Sports Massage therapist Holly Mason goes into detail as to the benefits of sports massage for both professional and every day athletes.
Although sports massage is specifically tailored to sporting injuries or ailments it is primarily designed to prevent and relieve conditions and injuries associated with exercise. This means sports massage is of great benefit to ANYONE that exercises and not only professional sports people, contrary to its name.
Sports massage focuses on areas of the body that are overused and stressed. The purpose of sports massage is to relieve the tension that can build up in the body’s soft tissues while we are exercising. How does it differ from your average remedial massage? The techniques used throughout a sports massage are often more vigorous, approaching the muscles more deeply to stimulate circulation of blood and lymph fluids and to break down any adhesions (knots) that may be present within the muscle fibres. These techniques are designed to enhance an athlete’s endurance and performance pre event and to decrease their recovery time post event.
Why do we need sports massage? What are the benefits?
Sports massage has many benefits for both the professional athlete and the average person. This includes those of you who regularly go for jogs around the block, take the dog for a walk and play your local game of netball or footy. Sports massage has both physiological and psychological benefits that have an overall impact on your performance. Benifits include:
Exercise can lead to muscle rigidity especially if you overtrain. Sports massage helps to relax overly tense muscles and provide additional flexibility. Often therapists will include a range of stretching during their treatment to encourage a greater range of motion as the muscles relax.
Shortens Recovery Time
Sports massages are ideal to help the body deal with stress and prevent injury. A sports massage will increase your blood flow and lymph fluids which assist your body’s natural healing process by speeding up waste removal. It also helps to reduce any swelling and inflammation associated with physical activity. Sports massage can be used to treat a number of injuries including shin splints, tennis elbow, sprains and strains, and corked thighs.
Helps Eliminate By-Products of Exercise
Lactic and uric acids are natural by-products of exercise and each can be lessened with an increase in blood and lymph flow to speed up waste removal.
Prepares the athlete psychologically
Sports massage does not only have physical impacts on an athlete. Psychologically, a sports massage can prepare the athletes body and mind for optimal performance as it leaves them feeling invigorated and focused. Sports massages can also instil confidence as an athlete feels more prepared after treating any muscle ailments and soreness.
Prepares the athlete physically
Sports massages prepare an athlete physically by decreasing muscle tension and fatigue and improving their heart rate and blood pressure. The increased blood flow is also very beneficial to athletes as it contributes to improved endurance during training and competition.
Pre and Post Event Sport Massage
Pre and post event sports massages are designed specifically to help athletes perform optimally and recover quickly after their event.
Pre event sports massage is typically a short and specific treatment performed within the 24 hours prior to a sporting event. The goal is to increase blood circulation and flexibility, and to prepare the athlete mentally to ensure optimal performance. Pre event sports massage focuses on the muscles that will be used most during the event and applies techniques that are fast paced to leave the athlete feeling invigorated and ready to go! Deep tissue massage before an event is contraindicated as it may cause too much of an increase in flexibility and may interfere with muscle strength and timing which the athlete is not used to. Experienced therapists will always have the athlete’s event goals in mind as they are performing the treatment.
Post event sports massage aims to assist with recovery and return the athlete to training as soon as possible without any soreness or injury. Post event, the goal is to calm the nervous system and ease tension within the muscle fibres. The focus is on improving blood flow to tight muscles and re-establishing the athlete’s range of movement. As a result, post event sports massage decreases the chance of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and reduce recovery time. This means the athlete can get back to training quicker without feeling stiff and sore! Post event sports massages are recommended directly after the event for a light rub down and within the few days after the event.
Northern Beaches Sports Massage
Want to incorporate sports massage into your training regime? Interested in hiring our therapists for your event? You can contact us here.
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