Training plays a large role in the success of many athletes. "Practice how you play" is a common phrase told to athletes. Most practices include physical training of cardio, weights and skills. However, massage can also benefit an athlete in training.
Massage has been utilized in the treatment of illness and injury for thousands of years by health care practitioners. According to the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, Chinese writings dating back to 2500 BC describe the use of this modality for a variety of medical purposes.
All types of athletes from amateurs to professionals undergo intense physical exertion as well as stress to muscles and joints. Sports Massage has dated back to 100 AD when Greek and Roman physicians prescribed massage to gladiators before and after exercise. However, in recent decades it has been growing in popularity. In the late 1980's and early 1990's, specific training began taking place for the practitioner to be able to address the specific needs of athletes.
For years, athletes have been doing whatever it takes to get ahead of the competition. For example, parents starting their children in athletic programs at a young age with extra hours in the weight room, altering their diets, sacrificing a social life, and hiring personal coaches. Now, sports massages have become a common routine of training regimens for athletes across the world. Many professional and collegiate athletic programs employ or contract with massage therapists. Amateur athletes are also utilizing the benefits of sports massage as well.
You might be thinking how something as relaxing as a massage can really benefit the continuously hard-working athletes. The American Massage Therapy Association states that, sports massage can be used to improve athletic performance, speed recovery, and can be utilized by all individuals who participate in any athletic and/or exercise program to help improve conditioning and maintain peak performance. Sports massage has been sought out for many years by athletes of differing backgrounds for multiple reasons.
The main reason sports massage has become so popular is simply, because it works. It offers benefits for athletes in their exercise regimens as well as their everyday lives. Sports massage will increase the circulations of blood in the body. This is especially helpful for athletes because circulation in the muscles slows down during activity and muscles become tight and sore. After massage, the muscles will be refreshed by oxygenated blood. With renewed circulation of blood, it is easier for the body to carry away waste products. This is beneficial to athletes because their muscles build up large amount of waste such as lactic acid.
Massage can prevent or treat a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This occurs a few hours after physical activity especially if it is a type of exercise that is pushing the athlete to new limits or one that an athlete is not used to doing. The pain that comes with it can affect the player’s ability to perform. Massage can be used to treat this condition by relaxing the muscles.
Bodywork can also improve flexibility. Massage therapists can stretch body parts to improve joint flexibility and relieve joint pain. This stretching can also improve range of motion for an athlete.
Sports massage can also benefit athletes with injuries. Paul Scholl, Nationally Certified Therapist in Massage and Bodywork (NCTMB) at Living Tough Massage explains how common injuries such as muscle strains can be treated through massage.
“Hamstring strains for example can be treated by lengthening and softening the muscles as well as removing the wastes can be used as a preventative measure. Ankle strains are very common we are careful to not lengthen an already stretched ligament with too much friction. Instead we will work to energize the muscles and restore balance to the area.”
Sports massage is helpful in a whole range of therapies for the athlete’s body and mind. It helps an athlete stay well and it increases their ability to perform at his peak for as long as possible.
If you are an experienced athlete or maybe someone just starting to exercise, let Living Touch Massage help you perform at your highest level. Simply call or text Living Touch Massage today to book an appointment at(218) 368-2964.
North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy
American Massage Therapy Association
New York Times