The Restoration Blog
Benefits of Sports Massage. It’s that time of year again when the days start to get lighter and we get the spring back in our step. With plentiful opportunities coming up in the running calendar this year, many of us are getting off the couch, dusting off the trainers and getting stuck into a training regime. Once we start to lead a more active athletic lifestyle, then massage becomes as essential as a good rehabilitation and training programme, rest and food.
Did you know that in the first Olympic games of 776 BC, athletes had massages before their events? Sports massage therapy has been used for centuries and why? Because it works! It involves the manipulation and management of the soft tissues in the body to alleviate and rehabilitate the musculoskeletal system. It has 3 basic forms: pre-event, post-event and maintenance massage, to prepare the body for sports and maintain it in optimal function both during and after. It is suitable for a wide variety of people who are wishing to prevent or recover from general tension or soft tissue injury such as overuse or repetitive strain injuries.
So, whether you’re an athlete or a couch to 5k here are the top 10 benefits to a sports massage.
- Preventing injury and injury rehabilitation by restoring and optimising the mobility, flexibility and tone in muscle tissue. Sports massage can speed up recovery healing times and alleviate soft tissue injury, strains and soreness.
- Pain reduction. Sports massage techniques manipulate muscles, tendons and fascia to reduce tired muscles from strain, aches and pains. Sports massage prevents or treats a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This condition happens a few hours after exercise, and can not only be painful but also effects function.
- Improved blood and lymph circulation by increasing blood supply we increase oxygen uptake and removal of lactic acid and by-product toxins which can build up in muscle tissue, reducing cramping. Increased lymph draining can help to reduce swelling in joints and muscles.
- Restore and re-balance muscle imbalances by focusing on and treating specific muscles to achieve better quality and harmonious movement.
- For relaxation, wellness and to reduce anxiety. Heart and breathing rates slow, blood pressure lowers, cortisol (our stress hormone) production decreases, serotonin levels increase (our happy hormone) and muscles relax. Massages make you happy!
- Restoring flexibility, mobility and muscle recovery. By relaxing, stretching and normalising soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and deeper connective tissue). Muscles massaged after exercise have fewer damaged fibres and less signs of white blood cells meaning the body does not have to work as hard to repair after exercise.
- Improved tissue metabolism and scar tissue re modelling. Scar tissue from muscle damage can be a limiting factor in exercise. Addressing scar tissue early can help to minimise secondary scar tissue problems such as pain, nerve impingement, postural malalignment, prohibited circulation and risk of future potential injury.
- Improves sleep. Reduces cortisol and increases serotonin levels to lead to a more restful nights’ sleep.
- Boosts immune defence. By decreasing cortisol levels our immune cells become less compromised. Additional white blood cells help to ward off illness.
- Improved function, energy and performance. Prepares you physically and mentally for optimum performance and productivity.
Stay active, be happy, eat well, and find a great Physiotherapist to keep your body at its best! Massage, you know you KNEAD it!