Sport Relief is behind us, but that was just the start of this year’s summer sporting calendar. There’s the London Marathon later this month, and of course the Common Wealth Games XX in Glasgow in July. These highly publicised sporting events will hopefully get you itching to participate. Start something new, or motivate you to work a bit harder in your chosen sport. Either way, it’s a great way to keep fit!
Elite athletes and health professionals are united when it comes to knowing the benefits of sports massage. It can be used as an aid to prevent injury and as a tool to enhance post exercise recovery and tissue healing. Even participating in sport at a recreational level, you are using the same muscles as elite athletes and undergo the same stresses.
Sports massage is not an overnight cure but even one treatment can have have some brilliant short-term benefits. By including it at your event, the rewards include physical and psychological improvements. With a combination of traditional massage techniques such as gliding and kneading movements and more remedial, deep tissue techniques, sports massage can help boost performance and extend the overall life of your sports participation and enjoyment. It helps remove damaged cells, scar tissue and adhesion’s and encourage more complete healing to treat and prevent sports injuries. Several studies have demonstrated increased flexibility, a reduction in post-exercise muscle soreness, improved recovery and decreased fatigue.
Physical Affects of massage
• Stretching muscle fibres improves tissue elasticity. This results in increased flexibility and a decrease in muscle tension.
• Massage helps to increase blood flow and tissue permeability. This also encourages removal of waste products (lactic acid) and uptake of oxygen and nutrients leading to quicker recovery.
• Sports massage can break down scar tissue from previous injuries or trauma to the muscles, tendons and ligaments. As a result, you can have increased mobility and reduced pain.
• Massage dampens down pain by reducing tension in the soft tissues and helping to eliminate waste products. Endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers may also be released during massage.
• Massage has also been shown to reduce heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels.
Psychological Affects of massage
• Depending on the type of massage, it can act to either relax or stimulate. For pre-event massage it’s important to receive an invigorating treatment that prepares you for action. Post-event or injury prevention massage tends to be more relaxing in order to gain the full physical benefits of the massage.
• Many people who receive sports massage report reduced anxiety levels, improved mood and a general feeling of well-being.