For hundreds of years and in cultures across the world, massage has been an integral part of health and well-being. It comes as no surprise then that massage is used by athletes and sportspersons to improve their performance and to assist with recovery. If you regularly play sports are looking to take your skills to the next level, here is what you need to know about massage.
How Massage Helps Sportspeople
Massage can directly benefit people that play competitive sport, no matter if they are a professional or play for a local sporting team. Even those that don’t play sport but do exercise like running or swimming can reap the benefits of massage. Here are five of the best reasons that we think will make you want to incorporate massage into your routine.
Boosts Blood Circulation
A massage ensures that blood better circulates through the system. With nutrients in the blood like oxygen being pumped around the body to our organs, athletic performance is improved.
Reduces Muscle Tension and Soreness
Our muscles can feel really tired after a gruelling workout. Massage will mitigate against sore or tense musics by removing toxins like lactic acid that can build up.
Continued massage therapy can reduce inflammation, decrease cortisol levels, and lessen anxiety. With both physical and mental pain reduced through massage, an athlete can ensure her or she can focus on their training and performance.
Relaxes Our Nervous System
Athletes need to perform at their best and to do that involves sleep. Lots of it. Massage can relax the nervous system making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep, as well as calm the nerves on game day.
Improves Flexibility for Greater Performance
Regular massage can improve flexibility and range of motion. This slight edge may be what you need to outperform your competitors and achieve glory.
Types of Massage for Athletes
There are two types of massage that athletes can benefit from the most.
A sports massage is typically tailored to the athlete or to the sport. For example, a sports massage for a badminton player would focus on their wrists more so than it would focus on the wrists of a runner. It can be given as a pre-workout method of warming the muscles, or it can be performed post-workout to reduce pain, tension, soreness, and to help the body warm down.
Deep Tissue Massage
This type of massage is often what people think of when they say massage hurts! A deep tissue massage can target a specific problem area where heavy pressure is then applied to the muscles or tissue. It is designed to wear down and eliminate any knots in the muscles that can hinder performance or would take longer to naturally heal.
I’m An Athlete, When Should I Get A Massage?
Athletes will find it beneficial to get one either before or after competing in their chosen sport. As covered, a massage beforehand will stimulate the muscles, while a massage afterwards will assist with cooling down and recovery. At the end of the day, it depends on the athlete, the sport, what your coach says, and most importantly, how your body feels.
How Often Should I Get One?
Once a week if you play sport competitively. Once or twice a month is acceptable if you are an amateur sportsperson or just like to exercise for health.