Usually, when the phrase “massage therapy” comes to mind, the first thing you think about is relaxation. But the truth is that there are many more benefits to massage, especially for athletes.
Read on for a list of the top ways that massage therapy can help athletes.
5 Benefits of Massage Therapy for Athletes (Other Than Relaxation)
To put it simply, massage therapy decreases muscle tension and stress in the musculoskeletal, circulatory, and nervous systems. By applying pressure and movement, we can separate scar tissue in your connective tissue to start the healing process.
What are some other ways massage therapy benefits athletes? It…
Increases Range of Motion
As an athlete, your muscles are bound to get tight and uncomfortable at some point, particularly after working out or participating in sports. Tight muscles can be difficult to maneuver and may even impact your range of motion.
Massage is one of the many therapies that can help with that. It can help elevate your range of motion by warming up your soft tissues, removing any restrictions within the body, and eliminating any pain caused by your tight muscles or injuries obtained as a result (e.g., a sprain or strain).
Another important way that a massage therapist can help with your range of motion is by decreasing inflammation within the body. When your body is injured, there is typically swelling at the site of pain, which must be reduced to restore mobility. Massage therapy gently targets the painful, swollen area, removes those restrictions, and helps you feel better again so that you perform your best.
Reduces Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness
Delayed onset of muscle soreness means that your muscles get achy many hours after finishing a workout. One study revealed that this delayed onset happens less often when the body is properly massaged.
For this reason, it’s recommended to get a sports massage at least two hours post-workout or injury, and/or before your athletic activity. Getting a massage can promote healing within the joints, and it supports a prompt, safe recovery.
We may help reduce your delayed onset of muscle soreness by performing a deep tissue massage, for starters. Our goal is to bring any collagen fibers back into alignment to restore strength and flexibility to the muscles–as well as eliminate pain.
Alleviates Anxiety and Psychological Tension
Many things contribute to athlete anxiety, such as not knowing if you’re going to win or feeling like you’re not at 100 percent. Fortunately, a massage can help with this anxiety through one word: endorphins.
According to one article, “Endorphins are chemicals produced naturally by the nervous system to cope with pain or stress. They are often called “feel-good” chemicals because they act as a pain reliever and happiness booster.”
Endorphins come from the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, helping your body feel like it’s on cloud nine after a strenuous workout. Massage can promote endorphin production, which can benefit your overall mood, anxiety, psychological tension, and more.
Getting eight hours of sleep per night is good for all of us, but not everyone can get that easily. If you’re an athlete who’s having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, massage can help.
First, massage can lower your cortisol levels, which helps with stress. It can also promote serotonin and dopamine production in the body and alleviate your pain if you have a sports injury.
Massage can treat your symptoms, from back pain to leg pain, so that they stop keeping you up at night. Furthermore, if you’re dealing with high amounts of stress and need something to ease your mind and body, massage is great for that. Who knows? You might even fall asleep during your massage session.
Accelerates Healing After an Injury
One of the most notable massage therapy benefits is the way it speeds up your recovery time from an injury and helps your body heal from within. Working with a sports massage therapist can promote circulation within the muscles, which can help eliminate any lactic acid and carbonic acid within the body that are affecting your muscles.
In addition to quickening the healing process, regular massages can reduce the risk of future sports injuries. The reason for this is that massage therapists work with the connective tissue, and the right movements can increase blood circulation and prevent tears in the muscles.
Massage also plays a role in the body’s chemical release, particularly nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus. These are essential in the healing process, giving your tissues the tools they need to heal themselves.
Whether you’re gearing up for a big game, increasing the intensity of your workouts, or are simply trying to avoid injury the next time you hit the field, massage therapy is a great option. Massage therapists have a thorough understanding of anatomy and know how to ease pain, decrease inflammation, and facilitate healing within the body.
Massage is not just a pain-reliever, but it’s also an injury preventer. It strengthens the muscles and tissues within the body, helping you to resist injury. It also improves your mobility so that your arms, legs, and back can move at angles that would have otherwise felt uncomfortable and sometimes impossible.
The bottom line? If you want to level up on the field, a sports massage can help with that.
Ready to schedule massage therapy? Summit Chiropractic and Sports Institute offers some of the best sports massage therapy here in Spokane, WA. Book your session today.