Anyone competing in sports wants to be the best, be it racing drivers who maintain the same position throughout the race, while facing huge amounts of g-force or a gymnast constantly on the move during the whole performance, the need for good sports massage is the same.
This greatly helps improve performance in a number of ways; the benefits can be both physical and mental.
How sports massage can help
Sports massage helps the body physically by stretching the muscles, preparing them for physical activity, the deep pumping of the massage helps increase blood flow to the muscles. This gives the muscles more oxygen to help them work to optimum performance. The action of the massage opens up the pores in the muscle allowing vital nutrients and fluids to flow in and toxins to flow out into the blood stream, you often see this happening in matches such as football or rugby, when the lactic acid builds up and cramp sets in, the physio runs onto the field sometimes only or a few minutes but this is all that is needed to release the toxins and let the fluids in.
Mentally sports massage can prepare someone for a big event by helping them to relax. This reduces the stress in a person helping them to focus on the sport, and this means that they can channel energy into the event knowing that their body is up to full fitness.
When sports contenders compete they push themselves to their very limits, and occasionally beyond. This is when they need massage therapy to help them prevent injury. Prevention is always better than cure, a quick response to injury can make all the difference, the increase in blood flow that a massage can help to reduce swelling and bruising.
Sometimes however this is not enough as the injury is too serious, this can result in surgery meaning that there is scar tissue left. The benefit of sports massage is that it can be used at any stage of healing. This is especially true if the scaring is old, old scaring can cause the rest of the muscles to compensate and this in turn can start to cause damage to the muscles, massage therapy can help breakdown the scaring and help the muscles build up in the correct position.
Massage also helps to stretch the muscles giving them a workout to help build up resistance and strength. Sometimes the process can be slow but the continued treatment can enhance recovery to bring the individual back to their best.
The mental help that a massage can give to a person is also conducive to recovery as the relaxation helps to reduce stresses often felt by someone who wants to get back to full fitness, reducing this stress can help them to focus more on the recovery.
Image by Brett Iohmeyer