The Importance Of Sports Massage In Athletes!
Whether you are an athlete or not, the benefits of sports massage are monumental, whether it be for your physical health, mental, or emotional well-being. How often does one stop and think about stretching after their hike or taking a five-minute yoga session after a long day of work?
The answer is probably unlikely the majority of the time.
Although a good night’s sleep and a well-balanced meal do the trick to bring things back into equilibrium, temporarily, it doesn’t specifically tend to your muscles, joints, and range of motion. A sports massage helps heal injuries and move the body’s tension while alleviating mental and physical stress.
On a personal note,
I remember my first sports massage. I was training for the big day before going on stage and competing in a fitness competition. I had scheduled a sports massage because the strenuous weight lifting and daily cardio had started to take a toll on my body more than expected.
Mind you, I had utterly neglected to allocate time to stretch after a workout. Probably because of laziness and feeling run down after the gym. Come to think of it, I didn’t know there was anything wrong with what I was doing because I was going to the gym every day, eating clean, sleeping, and avoiding alcohol.
Which is all you need to feel good, right? Not entirely.
As the days crept up to competition time, I noticed a significant change in my posture but most notably my hips. The clicking, pinching, and soreness in my hips slowly built over time the longer I prolonged doing anything about it. After a while, other body areas began to suffer because they had to compensate for one another.
In our many blogs, we mention the phrase “build a relationship to your body.” It’s because everything is interconnected and works alongside one another in unison to function optimally. Hence the pain, tension, and stiffness can be perceived as alarm bells that something in the body needs attending.
To realize this, we must listen.
Over time, our muscles tighten and experience fatigue, leading to injuries and decreasing your range of movement. Hence why a sports massage may be what the doctor ordered to help you tend to your muscles and maintain your joints, muscles, and ligaments.
In fact, your hamstrings will thank you for it!
What Is The Sports Massage Definition?
The Sports Massage Association defines massage as “the management manipulation and rehabilitation of the body’s soft tissue, including muscles, tendons and ligaments.”
What Can You Expect During Your Sports Massage?
Sports Massage differs from regular Relaxation Massage because it supports recovery from a sports-related injury. Sports Massage places a focus on a specific body part, such as your neck or hamstrings.
On the other hand, a Relaxation Massage is a treatment that aids with restoring balance to the mind and body and promoting rejuvenation. It doesn’t sound all that bad! However, as an athlete or an individual treating an injury, a Sports Massage would be a more viable option.
Both options are equally essential, and it is a matter of deciding what is best for you and your body.
Today, our focus is on the importance of sports massage in athletes, so let’s refocus our attention on that. An effective Sports Massage will have deep tissue work elements, stimulation of the lymphatic system while increasing blood flow in the body.
4 Categories Of Sports Massage:
- Rehabilitative: A Rehabilitative Sports Massage focuses on alleviating stress from injury while carefully returning the affected tissue to equilibrium.
- Restorative: The eminence of a restorative massage enables further training by helping you prevent injury. It is generally best while training to help you work harder and achieve your personal best during exercise.
- Pre-Event: Typically performed 15-45 minutes before an event. The Pre-Event Sports Massage is designed to stimulate the muscles that will be exerted during your activity.
- Post- Event: Post-Event Sports Massage aids with normalizing the tissues after undertaking strenuous activity. It is best to have this massage 2 hours after your event.
Before your massage, your therapist will assess to understand where your body is currently at.
Your therapist will assess your posture and symmetry, followed by a series of exercises to evaluate your joints and muscles’ flexibility and mobility.
The assessment will evaluate your range of movement through a series of passive, resistive, and active exercises.
Often our bodies undergo trauma during a Sports Massage which can leave you feeling sore after a few days. It usually takes 24-48 hours for you to feel the full effects of your treatment. Afterwards, the massage will leave you feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and comfortable.
During your recovery after a Sports Massage, don’t be alarmed if you experience a few chills, thirst, and faintness. Hydration is crucial during this time, and you can also take a warm bath to aid in the healing process.
What happens during trauma in a Sports Massage?
During a Sports Massage, we are working with the fascia, a hollow fibrous network of connective tissue made of elastin and collagen that surrounds the organs, bones, and muscle tendons in the body.
The techniques used are myofascial release techniques to stretch the fascia.
Poor posture and physical trauma make the fascia in the body become stiffened and lose their elasticity. Which then results in a significant decrease of flexibility in the body. Have you noticed that particular bodily movements become more painful as the days go on?
Since when did cross-legged become an issue!?
The importance of sports massage in athletes and non-athletes is to loosen the fascia. Aside from myofascial release techniques, there are other methods at work.
3 Additional Sports Massage Techniques
- Trigger Point Work: Most of the time, trigger points cause pain without warning and with little as no explanation. During your massage, trigger point work may look like cycles of isolated pressure and release to eliminate the targeted pain spot.
- Muscle Energy: This method is used to stretch, strengthen, and relax tight postural muscles.
- Soft Tissue Release: The soft tissue release helps stretch localized areas of your tendons, fascia, and muscle tightness. After identifying your fibres’ direction on the muscle tissue, your therapist will either apply an active, passive or weight-bearing technique.
Why Sports Massage Improves Performance
Adding Sports Massage to your regular training or housekeeping purposes will cure/restore mobility to injured muscles, increasing your performance by extending your sporting career and fitness ability.
Especially if you are a runner, your muscles are prone to shortening, building tension, and experience a decrease in blood supply and range of movement without proper maintenance and upkeep after exercise.
Having a proper stretching routine pre and post-workout is essential for avoiding trivial injury when it comes to exercise. Especially after an event, make sure you have plenty of water and avoid caffeinated beverages and fizzy drinks.
6 Benefits Of Sports Massage In A Nutshell
- Relief of muscle tension and stiffness
- Reduce muscle pain and swelling
- Remodel scar tissue
- Improve range of movement in the joints and muscle flexibility
- Increase circulation and removal of metabolic waste
- Enhance recovery from repetitive activity
Sports Massage Enhances Recovery Through:
- Increase of lymphatic and blood flow
- Remove post-training inflammation
- Improve oxygen to muscles to speed up recovery times
- Enhance recovery from injuries
- Remove swelling from the area to allow new tissue to be laid down
The therapist will use stroking and kneading techniques to increase the range of motion and flexibility in the body, allowing the muscles’ tension to relax and lengthen.
Before We Wrap Things Up
The importance of sports massage in athletes and the avid walker is equally essential to balance the body. If you are spending long days behind your computer screen or getting outside as much as you can, either way, our bodies need to move to get the blood flowing in all the right places.
Think of your body as a well-oiled machine; after a while of neglect, things become rusty. Our bodies, in fact, are the same. Physical wellness looks different for all individuals, but our muscles and joints all require maintenance from time to time, if not regularly.
We hope this blog was informative and inspired you to try a different approach to looking after your muscles and joints.
The importance of sports massage in athletes is a game-changer that improves performance and allows non-athletes to challenge themselves while preventing trivial injury.
Honolulu, Oahu, is a great area close to the ocean shore that allows individuals to enjoy the fresh air and exercise outdoors. Conveniently we are located in the heart of town, so if you are due for a Sports Massage, we are here for you.
Here is our phone number (808) 200-4611 and our friendly staff are ready to help you when you call. 🙂