After a long day of practice or games, players are naturally looking for a way to rest and recuperate their bodies. While sports drinks and ice baths provide some relief, it’s hard to argue with the therapeutic benefits of a good sports massage therapy.
Even though the practice has been around for thousands of years – harkening back at least to the time of ancient Greece and Rome – it’s only been within recent times that doctors have begun to fully understand all the ways in which it helps, some of which is described below.
1. Improved Circulation
Although many would assume that sports massage therapy only impacts the muscles, one of the greatest benefits that it affords users have to do with the cardiovascular system. Increased circulation improves blood flow and carries oxygen to different parts of the body, which helps with quicker recovery and conditioning.
A body that has poor circulation will not heal as quickly as one where the blood flows freely, which can lengthen recovery time and make the body feel worse overall. Particularly if you haven’t worked out a specific muscle in a while, sports massage therapy can decrease the soreness you feel by up to 30%.
2. Reduce Muscle Tension
One of the main reasons that people go for a massage – athletes or not – is because it reduces tension and promotes relaxation throughout the body. It’s a great mind and body rest that makes the person feel better overall.
It also reduces muscle tension, which can become especially tight with intense athletic activity. Tight muscles don’t perform as well as relaxed muscles since they move slower; a good sports massage therapist will be able to target these problem areas that are specific to your sport and work them out.
3. Better Range of Motion
Are you a tennis player that is looking to improve your range of motion? Maybe you are a competitive martial artist that needs a little bit more flexibility to improve an aspect of your game. If so, a sports-specific massage may be able to help.
By reducing the muscle tension that is inside your body, it will naturally become more flexible and able to perform more complex maneuvers. Targetted therapy that attacks the most-used muscles of your body kneads out the tight fibers that create tension and keep muscles tight. Combined with a good stretching routine, massage therapy can greatly help your overall sports performance.
4. Efficient Waste Disposal
All of the toxins in your body add up to a stressful and tense composition and can create tight fibers that don’t relax that well. In addition to recuperating your muscles, sports massage therapy can flush out the toxins that get stored up due to atrophy and usage, helping your body stay pure in the process.
Alongside the obvious health benefits, it will also make you feel less sick, minimize anxiety, and release endorphins into your body, creating a strong mental effect in addition to a physiological one.
5. Help Heal Injuries
When you’re recuperating from an injury, whether to a broken bone or sprained tendon, immobilization is usually the treatment of choice, in addition to other aids. While that may help the injury heal, it can also cause the area to become stiff; sports massage therapy helps keep that location active so that when it is time to move, it doesn’t feel sore.
Moreover, massage can help prevent injuries from happening in the first place. By improving flexibility, promoting circulation, reducing tight muscle fibers, alongside other benefits, the body is better able to adapt to stress and prevent issues from arising.
6. Improve Your Posture
Form is everything in sports. If your back is out of alignment, for example, a hit in American football can have catastrophic consequences. Because of this, a good sports massage therapy routine can actually reduce your risk of injury as well as help your overall performance.
Tight muscles and tense fibers cause the body to contract, taking your form out of alignment without you even realizing it. If your body is tense, it can be more difficult to achieve the optimal form for a basketball shot or baseball swing, which can have a huge impact during a game. In order to keep your muscles loose and your game in top shape, find a sports massage therapist who will regularly work the affected areas the most.