What is best for Athletes?
Massage therapy has been used for thousands of years to promote health, healing, and well-being. There are a wide variety of massage modalities, and deep-tissue massage therapy in particular can help athletes feel better, recover faster, and ultimately be more successful.
One of the primary goals in deep-tissue massage is to reduce the prevalence of scar tissue in the body. With all of the stresses that athletes put on their muscles, joints, and connective tissues, their bodies’ natural response is to lay down scar tissue (collagen) to provide more structural support. This extra collagen can lead to a lack of blood flow and mobility, and eventually to injury. Deep-tissue massage pinpoints and breaks-up these areas of scar tissue, restoring proper function to muscles and joints.
Sports-massage therapists also focus heavily on loosening tight, or hypertonic, muscles. Tight spots in muscles are often described as knots or trigger points. These spots can lead to pain, poor blood flow, lowered range of motion, and more severe injuries like muscle tears and stress fractures. A therapist reduces a knot by working on the hypertonic muscle itself as well as the nerves that innervate it and other surrounding tissues. By minimizing these tight spots with massage therapy, athletes not only feel better, they perform better and drastically reduce their risk of injury.
The techniques in sports-massage also improve circulation by drawing fluid through blood vessels and lymph vessels. By increasing the pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue as a muscle in that state will squeeze blood out, depriving it of key nutrients and oxygen vital to the repair process. For healthy muscle tissue, this increased circulation improves muscular and joint function, resulting in better athletic performance.
Sports-massage also increases flexibility through the use of specific strokes and targeted stretches. For athletes to perform optimally, they must have appropriate range of motion for their given activity. Regardless of the sport, if an athlete can gain more functional flexibility then he or she will have an advantage over competitors. Also, the more flexible a muscle is, the less likely it is to succumb to injury. If athletes utilize sports-massage to improve their overall flexibility and quality of motion, they’ll stack the odds in their favor to perform better and stay healthier.
Sports-massage has also been shown to promote better sleep patterns. With regular massage work, athletes can actually improve the quantity and quality of sleep they are getting. Sleeping more soundly leads to optimum athletic performance, not to mention overall health and happiness.
By having regular deep-tissue massage, athletes keep their muscles healthy, reduce scar tissue, increase flexibility, improve circulation, and enjoy better sleep. All of these components combined help make you a better athlete.
Learn more about our Recharge massage therapists and schedule your next appointment!
Some other benefits of Athlete recovery massage include:
- relaxing tense muscles
- aiding pain relief
- alleviating depression
- promoting sleep
- improving circulation.
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