Maximize Your Athletic Potential
The Benefits of Sports Massage:
Many people think of massage therapy as primarily a relaxation device, though in reality its uses are much more diverse. Professional athletes have been enjoying the benefits of massage for years with sports massage therapy now being geared to athletes of every kind, from world-class professionals to weekend joggers. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), “massage acts to improve performance, reduce pain, prevent injury, encourage focus and shorten recovery time. It basically involves two types of responses: a mechanical response as a result of the pressure and movement and a reflex response where the nerves respond to the stimulation of massage.”
Massage stimulates the cardiovascular system by dilating the blood vessels to promote circulation. This increased and enhanced blood circulation helps relieve muscle tension, reduce soreness and make for a faster recovery. Because the muscles are relaxed, range of motion and flexibility is increased. Both of these benefits can lead to better athletic performance.
New research conducted at the McMaster University in Ontario shows massage reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of new energy-producing cells. This in turn helps relieve pain, builds muscles and encourages muscle recovery.
At some point most athletes have probably heard “a game is played on a five and half inch court; the space between your head” or “a game is 10% physical and 90% mental”. Therefore the psychological effect gained from massage therapy may prove as beneficial as the physiological benefits. During a sports massage the parasympathetic nervous system is activated. This spikes the “feel good” hormones dopamine and serotonin. Additionally, the stress hormone, cortisol is reduced. Both of these actions promote relaxation by reducing stress, tension and anxiety. That relaxed, lowered tension state encourages focus, which is a great thing to have before entering any athletic competition.
So just what is sports massage? It is a form of massage therapy that tends to be deeper and more intense than the more familiar Swedish massage. Sports massage often incorporates a combination of stretching, compression, friction, toning, and trigger point techniques similar to Acupressure and Shiatsu. The skilled therapist at Skin Therapy of Charlotte brings together this blend of techniques and knowledge to work effectively with the client to bring about optimum performance, provide injury-free training and minimize post event injuries.
When To Schedule A Sports Massage
Research suggests that a periodic massage here and there is nice, but it won’t give you the same benefits as a regular massage program. Like exercise, your benefits are cumulative, meaning the more regularly you receive a massage the more you will reap their advantages. Think of it as preventative maintenance. At Skin Therapy of Charlotte our licensed massage therapist recommends scheduling every week or every other week if you are training at a high level. If getting weekly or bi-weekly massage isn’t in your budget, we suggest aiming for twice a month.
Pre-event and post-event massages are tailored for distinct purposes. Pre-event treatment is used as a supplement to an athlete’s warm-up to enhance circulation and reduce excess muscle and mental tension prior to a competition. It is tailored to the needs of the athlete and his/her event and can be as relaxing or stimulating as deemed appropriate. Post-event massage, on the other hand, is geared towards reducing the muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with rigorous exercise. Various sports massage techniques enhance the body’s own recovery process improving the athlete’s ability to return to training and competition, and reducing the risk of injury.
Even with preventative maintenance, muscles cramp, tear, bruise, and ache. Sports massage can speed healing and reduce discomfort during the rehabilitation process. Our massage therapist will work with your doctor or physical therapist to have you back in the game in no time.