Sports Massage Therapy is essential for active individuals when it comes to reducing stress on joints and muscles, optimizing performance, and preventing injury. We recommend that athletes and other active individuals implement regular sports massage into their training regimen or lifestyle to positively impact performance and endurance.
Sports Massage differs from a “classic” massage in large part due to the focus on particular areas of stress. Instead of concentrating on the entire body, Sports Massage pays special attention to areas that are prone to injury and/or tension by using body-focused techniques. Although this can look different depending on the type of sport or activity you do, the goal remains the same – optimizing positive results so you can continue doing what you love.
Sports Massage can be performed before or after physical activity, as well as routinely for self-care. Here are just some of the benefits associated with Sports Massage:
1. Sports Massage Reduces Built-Up Tension and Pain
A common issue that arises in athletic individuals is something called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This occurs a day or two after a workout, and somatic symptoms can range from severe pain/tenderness to reduced joint range and short-term muscle strength loss. DOMS or any other forms of acute soreness or tension can impact how you feel, and when you’re not feeling your best, your performance can take a hit.
Sports Massage works to target various areas on the body that feel the most strain, while also treating any muscle stiffness and tightness that can occur. Applying certain pressures to the body can increase blood circulation, causing muscles to relax and alleviating pain. By having this focused attention, the body has the chance to recover faster, and muscle aches won’t factor into future performance.
2. Sports Massage Improves Flexibility and Motion
Sports Massage can also assist athletes before an event. Stretching before physical activity has a profound impact on flexibility and the range of motion in joints, which helps prevent tense or stiff muscles. When you get a massage before an event, your tissues get the benefits of stretching, but in ways that you can’t always do on your own. The various massage techniques applied to muscles can reduce pressure build-up in targeted areas that are most often used, which can result in improved performance in high-intensity situations.
The stretching of muscles and soft tissues through Sports Massage allows for relaxation and softening to occur. Doing this can increase the temperature in these areas, which allows for greater elasticity and reduced restriction. Greater mobility means a greater chance for better performance.
3. Sports Massage Improves Mental Health
Massages are known for being very relaxing, and the same applies to Sports Massage. Because mental health is just as important as physical health, engaging in relaxation techniques should be a key player in your routine. Receiving Sports Massage before a game or performance will help put you in the right headspace, as massage therapy can increase serotonin (our mood-regulating hormone) and dopamine (our “happy hormone”) levels by 30%! It can also reduce blood pressure, which also aids in improving your mood before a competition or event.
According to the Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centres of Ontario, massage can also help de-clutter the mind and lower cortisol levels (the hormone that gets released when we’re stressed), which is needed when we want to perform our best.
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