It’s more than just a Deep Tissue massage.
Find out what sports massage can do for you, whether you’re a pro athlete or just love to hit the gym.
As an athlete, you’ll find that your muscles and joints are consistently filled with tension after performing. As you may well know, this can lead to aches and soreness the next day…pain that can be alleviated with the help of sports massage.
In this article, we are going to tell you about the benefits of sports massage that can help you and your body reach peak performance levels without injury or pain.
Read further for all the sports massage benefits that you need to know.
What is Sports Massage?
Sports massage can be likened to a Deep Tissue massage, but this does not mean that you can walk into any spa after a soccer injury and get the same level of care as with a medical massage therapist.
A true sports massage needs to be performed by a massage therapist who is certified in Sports Massage. This additional education and training gives your therapist a better understanding of human anatomy so they can develop a treatment plan that is specific to your unique injury.
The main focus behind sports massage is to loosen tight muscles and increase circulation, but it is much more focused than a traditional Deep Tissue massage and utilizes other techniques—such as stretching—to help muscles and other soft tissues recover from physical exertion.
The goal isn’t “relaxation,” but injury prevention and healing.
Benefits of Sports Massage
It may also surprise you to know that you don’t need to play “sports” in order to benefit from a sports massage. Anyone who participates in regular physical exercise will see the difference it makes!
So whether you’re a professional athlete, amateur, or just your average gym-goer, a sports massage can do you a world of good.
1. Improved Flexibility
Tense muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues can prevent your body from experiencing its full range of motion. Additionally, as we get older, our bodies become less flexible—that is, unless we do something about it.
Whether you’re jumping, running, hitting, or lifting, improved flexibility can increase your comfort and your performance. Sports massage can help relax tight muscles, enabling them to stretch farther and more comfortably.
2. Better Performance
Researchers at McMaster University found that even a short massage (just 10 minutes) increases the mitochondria levels in your muscles.
Mitochondria is often dubbed “the powerhouse of the cell” and for good reason. Mitochondria produce energy in the form of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Having extra mitochondria increases the rate that your muscles convert oxygen into ATP.
This process gives your muscles an extra boost when they need it most (plus, you get to enjoy a relaxing massage).
3. Reduced Muscle Pain
Normally, your body uses oxygen to fuel your muscles for vigorous activity. But if your activity levels outpace your oxygen, your muscles will create lactic acid (or lactate) instead, which can work without the presence of oxygen. Sometimes, this lactic acid can build up in your bloodstream faster than you can use it.
It’s this lactic acid that’s responsible for the sore, aching muscles you feel the next day.
Your body will eventually rid itself of the excess lactic acid (and any other toxins), but simply living with muscle soreness (especially when you have more training or a big game coming up) may not be an option.
Luckily, sports massage can help break up that lactic acid so your liver can remove it more efficiently.
To prevent muscle soreness, massage is best done after a training session. But as you continue to get sports massages, you may find that you’re less stiff and sore after workouts than you normally would be.
4. Injury Prevention
As an athlete, there are times when injury can’t be avoided, but there are also steps that you can take to avoid becoming injured. If you’d rather prevent injuries than treat them, sports massage can help with that, too.
When done before your training session, a sports massage can help loosen up your muscles, preventing strains and sprains that may keep you on the bench. When done after a workout, massage can help your muscles return to a relaxed state so that they don’t develop painful trigger points or other conditions that may affect your performance and overall health.
5. Psychological Benefits
As an athlete, you might appreciate the physical benefits of sports massage the most, but don’t downplay the role that your mental health plays in your overall sense of wellness.
At its core, a sports massage is still a massage and it can come with all of the psychological benefits as any other massage: relaxation, improved sleep quality, and reduced anxiety.
If you are a professional athlete, the mental stress can be just as grueling as the physical stress that you put your body through day after day. Taking the time to decompress both your body and your mind will work wonders on your performance and your personal life.
Are You Ready For Your Massage?
Sports massage is vastly different from regular massage, as it is much more focused on the injuries, issues, and areas that are unique to your physical performance. For this reason, it’s important to tell your therapist exactly how you injured yourself so s/he knows exactly how best to treat you.
By getting regular sports massages—either before or after a training session—you can experience more flexibility, fewer pain and injuries, better performance, and reduced mental stress.
At Oviedo Chiropractic, we take a holistic approach to wellness; we believe that your body works together as a whole, not as separate systems. Your muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems are all interconnected, and massages are just as important to restoring proper function as regular chiropractic adjustments.
We have a staff of four licensed medical massage therapists to loosen tight muscles, reduce inflammation, and increase mitochondrial production to help you reach your peak!
Contact our office today and schedule an appointment.