As the popularity of massage therapy continues to climb, more and more athletes are recognizing just how beneficial including therapy in their training regime can be.
Massage therapy is great for pain relief, but the benefits of therapy don’t just stop there for athletes. Read on to discover how sports massage can enhance your focus and overall performance.
Top Three Benefits of a Sports Massage1. Increased Range of Motion and Flexibility
Sports massage emphasizes the importance of stretching during your sessions more than other massage modalities may. This is because as you work out, your muscles actually tighten from a decrease of blood supply to the area, effectively increasing your risk of injury. Your risk of future injury is minimized as the muscles are stretched and their flexibility is improved through therapeutic stretches that target key areas during your massage sessions.
As your body is massaged, your blood flow is increased. As more blood flows to your muscles, they receive more oxygen and nutrients to keep them performing at their best. However, there is another benefit to this increased blood flow: lower stress levels and tension relief. As you relieve muscular tension, your body can work harder. And with less stress, you can keep a clearer mind to keep pushing yourself during your workout or practice.
Massage has also been linked to lower levels of stress-causing hormones by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, or the rest and digest system. This system works to slow the heart rate to help the body conserve energy, and as your body relaxes, your mind can better focus on the task at hand. Since sports require tactical maneuvering in addition to physical strength, this will help enhance your performance from both a physical and physiological perspective.
Choosing the Right Modality
While a gentle massage will be relaxing for the mind and body, it may not be the best choice for a sports massage. When booking a sports massage, be sure to choose a therapist that has been trained in the right modality to maximize the benefit your body receives from the therapy, such as deep tissue massage (which is designed to work out knots and tension). Generally speaking, a sports massage is going to involve more stretching and deeper, fast-paced strokes to increase your body’s blood flow and enhance your performance.