Sport massage isn’t just for athletes, the ardent keep fitter or the once a week jogger. Anyone can benefit from sport massage, whether you are working at a computer all day, standing on a factory line or doing heavy manual labour, these movements and postures can cause tension, leading to postural problems and repetitive strain injuries. Remember that massage is not only for the injured but can also offer numerous benefits to uninjured individuals who are looking to enhance their sporting performance.
The main purpose of sports massage is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can help break them down quickly and effectively. Therefore it can help prevent those little niggles become side lining injuries that get in the way of performance, goals or even just day to day activities.
So to sum it up sport massage can:
- increase sporting performance
- maintain the human body in a healthy condition
- prevent injuries and inflexibility
- reduce the recovery period following an injury.
Enhanced tissue permeability: Massage causes the tissue membrane pores to widen, allowing fluids and nutrients to pass through more readily. This enables waste products such as lactic acid to be removed rapidly and creates an environment whereby oxygen and nutrients are quickly delivered to the target muscles, allowing an enhanced recovery.
Increased flexibility: Massage stretches muscle tissue in a multi-directional manner, both longitudinally and laterally. It can also have a similar effect on the muscular sheath and surrounding fascia, allowing a beneficial release of stored tension and pressure.
Scar tissue realignment: Each and every time a muscle receives trauma or injury, scar tissue is formed which can affect the muscle itself as well as the tendons and ligaments. If not treated correctly at the time of injury, this scar tissue can form haphazardly (I often picture a mess of fibres like spaghetti), resulting in the potential for long term inflexibility issues. Massage assists in realigning the scar tissue formation and reduces the likelihood of subsequent injury and/or pain.
Inhibition of pain: A combination of tension and waste products within a muscle can often result in the sensation of pain. Massage lessens this painful feeling by its ability to reduce tension and remove waste products. It also encourages the release of endorphins.
Stimulates relaxation response: Massage creates an environment whereby heat generation, enhanced circulation and increased flexibility are all promoted. All of these factors play a role in stimulating mechanoreceptors in the body and creating relaxation.
Reduced anxiety levels: Through stimulating a relaxation response, massage has the additional benefit of lowering anxiety levels, creating a mood enlightening experience.
So, there are numerous benefits of sports massage, including those that are considered physical, physiological and psychological. These benefits can greatly help the potential for you to enhance your sporting performance if carried out on a regular basis. So if you ever needed one good reason to book in for a sports massage, now you have many!