Purpose: Sports massage enables athletes to attain their highest potential by accelerating the body’s natural restorative processes, enabling the athlete to participate more often in rigorous physical training and conditioning. Massage helps to reduce the chance of injury by identifying and eliminating conditions in the soft tissue that are at potential risk of injury. When injury has occurred, massage helps to restore mobility and flexibility to the injured muscle tissue, while reducing recovery time.
Beneficial Effects of Sports Massage:
· Causes hyperemia, making more oxygen and nutrients (necessary for growth and repair) available to the body area being massaged.
· Stimulates circulation and lymph drainage to quickly flush out metabolic wastes from exertion. It is 3-5 times more effective in combating fatigue than just rest.
· Stretches and broadens muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
· Breaks down the “gluing” between fascial sheaths.
· Separates fibrosis and breaks down adhesions that result from inflammation, trauma, and injury.
· Helps to realign collagen fibers formed as a result of injury to produce a strong, flexible scar.
· Reduces muscle spasms.
· Identifies possible trouble areas early and helps eliminate them.
Increases Immunity T-cells
Reduces the stress hormone Cortisol by as much as 50%.
Increases Serotonin and Dopamine - feel good neurotransmitters that improve mood.
Special Benefits of Massage to Athletes:
· Allows athletes to reach peak performance sooner and sustain it longer.
· Muscles improve in flexibility and are able to respond more quickly and powerfully.
· Encourages better performance and reduces the risk of injury.
· Eliminates muscle stiffness due to excess acid buildup.
· Rejuvenates muscles quicker after intense workouts.
· Offers the athlete a chance to relax and recuperate more quickly.
· Reduces ischemic pain and pain from spasms, splinting, and tension.
· Identifies and eliminates possible trouble spots, thereby preventing injury.
· Injuries heal quicker and stronger without loss of power due to transverse fibrosis.
· Extends the overall span of an athlete’s career.
Plagiarized from “Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Massage” by Mark Beck