Before we have a look at the main benefits of sports massage let us first look at the difference between sports massage specifically versus other types of massage. So, sports massage is a form of deep tissue massage that involves the manipulation of areas of soft tissue to relieve the symptoms of pain, tightness, and a lack of mobility, typically caused by exercise (hence the name sports massage).
Most people’s bodies have imbalances that give rise to exacerbated problems with repetitive physical activity, and sports massage alleviates these problems by working on muscles, fascia, skin, ligaments, and tendons to help restore balance. This helps to prevent injury, increase speed of recovery, and improve sporting performance.
Sports massage can also be effective for of enormous benefit to people in an increasingly sedentary world of inactivity. Put it like this, sitting down at a desk all day, does nothing for your back, shoulders, or neck muscles and joints.
To get a good idea of the main benefits of sports massage, we spoke to Vicki Askew, who runs Enhance Massage in Wymondham, Norfolk.
Top Benefits of Sports Massage
Now that we have an understand of what is unique about sports massage and what it’s designed for, lets have a look at some of the main benefits of receiving treatment.
1. Improved Performance
Having sports massage therapy on a regular basis helps improve sporting performance, because muscles that are conditioned well, and enable a full scope of mobility enable you to run faster, pick up heavier objects, be more agile, and jump higher. This isn’t sport specific either, no matter what your sport of choice, sports massage will help you do it better.
2. Recovery Time
If you have an injury or even just a niggle or a tweak, then sports massage will help you to get back to full fitness quicker. By manipulating your muscles, ligaments, scar tissue and tendons it enables them to heal quicker and in the right way, so that you will have less problems in the future versus not having the treatment.
3. Mobility and Flexibility
Often people don’t place enough emphasis on mobility and flexibility for sports but being supple is imperative if you want to achieve peak performance. If the movement of your joints is inhibited, then you simply won’t have the movement between bones. Sports massage helps in this area by stretching and lengthening your muscles allowing an increase in synovial fluid inside the joints. This is what will help you gain that freedom of movement.
4. Reduce Muscle Soreness
Anyone that has spent a bit of time down the gym and put even a bit of effort in knows abou8t muscle soreness. This is caused by micro tears in the fibres of your muscles when exercising and is what gives you that ache in your muscles a day or two later. To reduce this soreness, sport massage helps by speeding up the process by which waste products including the famed lactic acid are removed from your body, thus speeding up the bodies ability to repair the muscle fibres.
5. Improved Circulation
When your muscles are suffering from tension, caused by exercise, it restricts your blood supply. Therefore, sports massage helps to alleviate this problem by flushing out the waste products like lactic acid, and restoring an increases bloody supply to your muscles, which of course helps them operate at a higher level.
6. Improved Lymphatic Flow
The lymph system isn’t really the most widely known about subject by the general population, but it is what helps our body fight inflammation in the cells by draining out waste products and enabling the all-important nutrients in our blood stream to be used efficiently by the body. Sports massage help the lymphatic system do its job, which is why you’ll always get offered water by the therapist at the end of your massage.
7. Relaxation and Stress Relief
A sports massage helps relaxation and provide stress relief in several important ways. Firstly, it helps reduce the number of stress-related hormones in the body, which also helps to boost the functioning of your immune system. Secondly, a sports massage helps to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps to control your heart rate and blood pressure among other things, thus helping with relaxation. Thirdly, a sports massage increases the release of endorphins in the body, which not only makes you feel good, but also helps the body to deal with stress and pain.
If you’re a sports person or a gym bunny who cares about your performance, then it should be an absolute no-brainer to have a sports massage as part of your normal schedule. If you’re recovering from a sports injury or you have injury or mobility issues because of a sedentary lifestyle you should probably have a sports massage. In fact, to be honest, there’s not many people who don’t need one.