If you’ve never thought about how a sports massage could help you – or you think it’s only for those slogging away on a court, pitch or course, maybe it’s time for a rethink.
Whilst it is designed for improving physical performance, sports massage has other benefits which may come as a surprise.
Sports massage is a proven remedy for injury and muscle soreness prevention
Working out can cause muscular pain (DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness) which in itself is a good sign when getting fit, but you want to alleviate pain and improve muscle quality and healing. Sports massage speeds up the healing process in injured soft tissues. By increasing the healing activity of cells called fibroblasts (Fibroblasts are a type of cell in the body that play a critical role in healing connective tissue).
Sports massage before or after a workout has notable benefits on performance
You don’t have to have a sports massage directly before, or even on the day of the event to reap the benefits. It can be a helpful “warm-up” as early as seven days prior to exertion. Pre-event sports massage is designed to aid relaxation and create a state of physical readiness. In this way, it is more like its close cousin the Swedish massage. A deep tissue massage is not recommended before a workout, because the strong pressures on the muscle tissue put the body into recovery mode. This is a very important point to understand. However, after the event – this is a good reason for a good sports massage – just see above.
Sports massage therapy has its origins in phenomenal success
Massage therapy itself is ancient. But the practice and refinement of sports massage therapy are relatively new and the continual research into its benefits brings new techniques and ideas about improving health and performance through sports massage.
Sports massage therapy was refined in Finland in the early twentieth century. Its effectiveness was demonstrated by Paavo Nurmi, the “Flying Finn” who won 5 gold medals in the Paris Olympics in 1924. Nurmi included sports massage into his training regime, something most athletes now consider routine.
Sports massage for non-sport enthusiasts
In fact, as noted initially in this blog, sports massage therapy has a wealth of other benefits that non-sport enthusiasts may find appealing. It may appeal to those who no longer exercise so much, and may still be carrying the knots and aches of a highly active recent past, or for those who still walk, golf or cycle regularly and wish to keep in good form. Or it could be for whoever is curious as to how sports massage may help them.
A sports massage has enormous health and therapeutic benefits too
Sports massages have the added bonus that they incorporate the therapeutic elements that other forms of massage are celebrated for. It helps with:
• injury prevention
• alleviates the symptoms of stress and anxiety as it encourages the release of certain endorphins, the body’s natural pain reliever.
• One study found that sports massage was able to lower blood pressure and reduce heart rate.
• A sports massage flushes toxins from the body (especially from around joints) and improves lymphatic and blood circulation (which in turn improves recovery
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