SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY:
Therapeutic sports massage is a type of massage technique, similar to deep tissue massage, which focuses on treating soft tissue aches, pain and injuries that are associated with recreational activities. Massage can reduce muscle stiffness and improve relaxation by reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
Benefits of regular sports massage:
- Shorten your recovery time from strains and physical stresses of any sport or activity.
- Enhance the elimination of by-products of exercise (i.e. lactic acid) which can make you stiff and sore.
- Improved range of motion and muscle flexibility; resulting in improved power and performance.
- Increase athletic endurance and performance by warming specific muscle groups and increasing circulation to injured muscle groups.
- Reduce pain and muscle tension which induces a calming effect on your body.
- Provide an athletic edge by maintaining your peak condition
- Encourage mental and physical relaxation which decreases performance anxiety and sharpens your mental focus.
- Reduce the chance of injury, by relieving stress points in your muscles before they result in restrictions or spasm.
- Extend the overall life of your sporting career.
Recently, researchers at McMaster University reported that deep massage after an intense workout actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells that are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy.
For this study, the researchers had men to exercise to exhaustion on stationary bicycles. After the workout, the men had a Swedish-style deep-tissue massage on one leg for 10 minutes. Muscle biopsies were taken from one quadriceps muscle before and after the workout, and from both muscles immediately after a 10 minute massage of one leg, and again two and a half hours later.
The deep-tissue massage increased the size and number of new mitochondria more than exercising without massage. Increasing mitochondria can improve endurance performance by increasing the rate that muscles can utilize oxygen.
The pressure of massage may also improve blood flow during the massage and increase muscle temperature. Massage reduces heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. Most people report a feeling of pure relaxation, reduced anxiety, and improved mood as a result. Athletes may indeed find an edge in these psychological benefits.