When you're pushing your body to its limit in the name of athletic excellence, maintaining good health is crucial. Sports massage can provide more than pleasurable sensations and an hour of downtime, however. Learn how massage therapy with a focus on athletic wellness can take your performance to the next level.
What is a Sports Massage?
If you've never worked with a massage therapist, you may be imagining scented oils, new age music and relaxation without any real athletic benefits. The truth of the matter is that sports massage can have a serious impact on your performance and goes far beyond the sensation of luxurious pampering. In fact, massage therapy is a vital component of many elite athletes' conditioning and training programs because it can have such a substantial impact.
While all massage therapy focuses on manipulating the soft tissues of the body, including muscles, connective tissues, ligaments and tendons, sports massage focuses on areas of particular interest to athletes, including:
- Addressing fatigue and muscle stiffness after intense workouts
- Reducing muscle tension
- Increasing flexibility and range of motion
- Supporting peak athletic performance
- Improving soft tissue function
Why You Need a Sports Massage for Peak Performance
By paying special attention to the areas where athletes most need support, a massage therapist can help you not only mitigate the effects of an existing injury, but also potentially prevent them in the future. Recovery time is reduced, giving you a bit of an edge when it comes to training and conditioning. Working with a knowledgeable, professional and licensed massage therapist who specializes in sports massage can even decrease delayed-onset soreness of the muscles and reduce swelling.
It's also important to remember that heavily-exercised muscles may be strong, but they also tend to be tighter than those of non-athletes. This can translate to less flexibility in the short term, and an increased likelihood of injury in the long term. Sports massage is designed to address this tightness in a manner that aids in injury prevention, particularly injuries related to muscle pulls and tears.
Why You Should Consider Regular Sports Massage Therapy
When it's part of your overall workout and conditioning routine, sports massage does have the potential to help you reach peak fitness level with lowered risk of injury, pain and swelling. Because massage therapy also reduces cortisol levels, you're able to enjoy stress reduction and relaxation, which helps you better recover from each strenuous workout. You're able to approach your conditioning from a more relaxed and focused perspective, ready to tackle the next hurdle along your own personal path to athletic excellence.
A professional massage therapist is trained in more than eighty different types of therapeutic massage, meaning they're able to tailor a treatment plan to your unique needs as an athlete. Together, you and your massage therapist can work to support your progress while slashing recovery times and boosting your mental clarity. Because massage therapy has been shown to have a positive impact on anxiety, it can help you to focus more clearly on the goals you'd like to achieve while supporting your overall wellness.