Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy
While massage has long been used as a form of pain management and healing, sports massage is a specific type geared towards the prevention of injury and assisting patients in reaching the optimum levels of fitness and health. It is often used by athletes but is extremely beneficial to anyone wanting to prevent injury while increasing their physical fitness or to someone who has suffered an injury. Sports massage is one of the primary techniques utilized in sports therapy and will be tailored to each individual’s needs.
So what makes sports massage different from other types of massage? Sports massage utilizing several different types of massage techniques in order to reduce fatigue and muscle swelling resulting from exercise and seeks to prevent injury that affects mobility, flexibility and other facets of athletic activity. During physical activity, muscle tension and lactic acid build up which can lead to small injuries and lesions in the muscles, which in addition to being painful, can lead to further injury if not properly treated.
Many times, this pain is delayed, leading the athlete to fail to realize an injury has occurred. This condition, known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, has been shown to be reduced following sports massage. Another benefit of sports massage is keeping muscles able to relax. Heavily exercised muscles are in such a chronic state of tension that they can actually lose their ability to relax. This leads to a loss of flexibility, which in turn can lead to injury.
The application of sports massage helps the muscles to relearn relaxation and thus prevents injury by keeping muscles loose and restoring range of motion to joints. Studies have also shown that sports massage led to decreased anxiety and improved mood in addition to the physical effects. Approach anxiety which is the anxiety felt leading up to a big event, has been shown to decrease and the less tense an athlete is, the less prone to injury.
Sports massage should be applied both before and after a sporting event. The pre event massage focuses on warming up the major muscles in order to render them lose and pliable. After the event, massage focuses on recovery and reducing spasms and the build up of acid in the muscles. It is important to find a licensed sports massage therapist and that a full physical history is completed as well as a history of prior injury and current exercise regime. Sharing this information and seeking out sports massage therapy can make all the difference in physical fitness and long-term health.