Many athletes consider massage an essential part of their training and recovery routine. They report that it helps them:
- train more effectively
- improve performance
- prevent injury
- recover quickly
Massage therapists who work with athletes focus 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. While many athletes are convinced of the physical benefit of massage, research on its effectiveness is accumulating.
Massage involves applying mechanical pressure to the soft tissues, and this has been linked with improved muscle flexibility, increased range of motion in the joints, and decreased muscle stiffness.
Recently, researchers reported that deep massage after an intense workout actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria.
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells and are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy. 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.
For most athletes, enjoying less muscle stiffness and improving relaxation and well-being is reason enough to enjoy regular massage. But as research continues to grow on the real physical benefits of massage, more and more athletes will be taking advantage of this 'feel-good' training method.
Increase flexibility in inflexible areas and help to restore healthy joint balance. The therapist will use passive and active and stretching techniques to promote healthy extensibility of the muscles.