No matter what level of fitness or physique you are, sports massage can benefit everyone in one way or another. In this blog, our sports massage therapist, Nathan, shares some of the main benefits of sports massage and why it is important to understand the physiological effects massage has on the body.
“Firstly, an interesting fact. Massage was first documented in Europe during the Roman period due to the popular gladiatorial combat at the time and was proven to show benefits to the fighters. It became an essential treatment for them before every battle. However, other massage treatments, such as ayurveda, were supposedly invented around 3000 BCE!
Muscles are essentially thousands of fibres intertwined together to make one large muscle. Each muscle has a connection and insertion point to where a tendon is located. Tendons link muscle to bone, and ligaments connect bone to bone.
When doing any form of exercise, these tiny fibres in the muscles breakdown and tear. As a result, they are improved by stronger and fresh fibres that grow. Going to the gym and lifting heavy will ultimately tear more fibres due to the excess pressure applied on the body. This promotes the size of the participant over time due to the amount of rebuilding the body goes through.
So how does sports massage help? Here are 4 important benefits:
- Flexibility – If you are into sports in general, do Pilates or even if you do very little exercise, flexibility is an important part of our daily lives. For example, tasks such as picking objects up off the floor or being able to have a boogie now and again all benefits from greater flexibility. Ultimately, sports massage helps to release tightness around tendon connection points with the variety of techniques that can be used, thereby boosting flexibility and movement.
- Injury recovery – When areas of the body are damaged, the tiny muscle fibres will split. Scar tissue can form during the recovery period. It is important to get treatment during this healing process. Treatment allows the therapist to flush out inflammation and toxin buildup around the site of injury and flush it through the lymphatic system as well as reducing the scar tissue buildup.
- Increasing circulation and performance – Before events or training, sports massage can deliver significant benefits. These specific massages involve faster and lighter movements to increase the amount of blood flow through specific areas of the body. This allows the body to warm up adequately and improve flexibility to reduce injury. Stimulation of the muscles can help improve performance and make muscles less likely to fatigue during or after the exercise has been completed.
- Mental health and physiological changes – Life can be stressful, as we all know, and sometimes it’s great to have an unwind. Relaxation is a key part of sports massage as well as the benefits you get from deeper pressure. It allows the body to wind down from the fight or flight system and helps release certain endorphins and hormones to improve your mood.
Our experienced sports massage therapists, Samantha Meehan-Vandike and Nathan Noble, have many years of experience working in chiropractic clinics, hospitals and private massage therapy clinics. They are ready to help you recover from injury, reduce tension and relieve pain. Book an appointment online today or call our friendly team on 01202 473800.