Weekend warriors to professional athletes can benefit from receiving regular sports massage. As a fervent athlete myself, I know and appreciate the toll that partaking in competitive sports can take, from sports injuries to physical or mental fatigue, not to mention the rigor of eating right, training correctly and consistently, and allowing for adequate recovery. It's a job, one unpaid except for the thrill, the sense of accomplishment, the confidence that comes from pushing's one's limits and excelling at a new level. In the throes of training, sports massage helps improve your body's efficiency and performance by increasing the blood's circulation, increasing range of motion in your joints, and reducing muscular tension. It can also be an invaluable tool for catching minor imbalances and injuries early that, left unchecked, could derail a whole season. What's more, the specific techniques of pre-event and post-event massage get your body feeling light, quick, and refreshed before a big event and help you to recover more quickly and feel less long-term soreness afterwards. Scientific research is quickly exploring the wide range of benefits of sports massage, including those in the following list.
Benefits of sports massage
Research has shown that in relation to exercise and athletic participation massage can:*
- Reduce muscle tension 4, 18, 19
- Help athletes monitor muscle tone 4, 19
- Promote relaxation 4, 18, 19
- Reduce muscle hypertonicity 4, 18, 19
- Increase range of motion 4, 14, 18, 19
- Improve soft tissue function 4, 18
- Support recovery from the transient immunosuppression state 6
- Support the recovery of heart rate variability and diastolic blood pressure after high-intensity exercise. 7
- Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise 8, 18, 19
- Improve exercise performance 8, 9, 18, 19
- Decrease delayed onset muscle soreness 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
- Be the most efficient intervention for maintaining maximal performance time in subsequent exercise tests when combined with active recovery from maximal exercise 12
- Reduce serum creatine kinase post exercise 13
- Reduce swelling 17, 19
- Reduce breathing pattern disorders 18
- Enhance athletic performance 4, 18, 19
- May help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly 18, 19
* Some research sample sizes are small, and not all are randomized trials.
Many of us choose to live in Montana because of the athletic opportunities that exist here. Help yourself take advantage of them while performing at your highest level with sports massage.