No matter the level of athleticism—professional gridiron football player or daily runner—anyone who participates in a strenuous physical activity or exercise program can benefit from regular massage therapy. Athletes of any age, gender, and sport are susceptible to muscle tension and fatigue, swelling, stiffness, and general soreness. Research has shown that professional and amateur athletes of all types can benefit from a regular massage therapy program. This research has shown that massage can reduce muscle tension, help athletes monitor muscle tone, promote relaxation, reduce muscle hypertonicity, increase range of motion, improve soft tissue function, reduce swelling, and decrease onset of muscle soreness, among many other benefits.
Modalities & Focus
But not all modalities are as effective as others when it comes to helping athletes improve performance and conditioning and recover faster from sports-related injuries. Soft pressure massages like Swedish or Aromatherapy can help an athlete relax, but a sports massage or deep tissue massage both offer targeted, therapeutic treatment that can help improve flexibility, reduce pain and increase range of motion.
A sports massage is designed around an athlete’s particular sport and focuses on the areas of the body that are used and stressed from the sport and can improve flexibility, reduce risk of injury, and boost the circulatory system. This modality often involves a fast-paced massage and stretching. Not only is it effective as a post-workout regimen, sports massages, when used before a workout can stretch and warm up muscles.
Deep tissue massage also focuses on particular areas, and incorporates a firmer pressure on the different layers of muscles and deep tissue designed to get into knots and release tension. Deep tissue massage can help break up scar tissue from injuries, which can help increase range of motion for athletes.
Whether incorporating a sports or a deep tissue modality, having a regularly-scheduled massage program can have a cumulative benefit on an athlete’s performance. Some massage therapy professionals recommend a weekly or bi-weekly massage program for athletes; or at a minimum, twice a month. They do recommend waiting three to five days after an athletic event to have a massage; and three to five days before an event for a pre-event massage. (http://blog.customcraftworks.com/blog/effects-of-massage-therapy-for-athletes)
Unlike a relaxation massage, sports and deep tissue modalities use a deeper pressure to target the soft tissue aches and pains which can cause some discomfort. Athletes should be prepared to experience some soreness after the massage.
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Ready for a massage? Book an appointment online through our Massage Clinic. Or, if you’re looking for a rewarding, holistic career as a massage therapist, take a look at our Massage Therapy training program.
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