Athletes as well as physically active individuals are prone to muscle tightness and restricted lower extremity range of motion or ROM which can lead to muscle injuries during sports activities. This is also correlated to lower back, ankle, and even shoulder pain or dysfunction, which can hinder and reduce one’s movement efficiency and quality which is crucial for athletes.
The good news is there are a lot of options out there that can be used to reduce muscle tightness as well as to increase ROM, which includes massage therapy. There’s even one type of massage therapy that is specifically designed for physically active individuals.
What is Sports Massage?
A form of massage that manipulates soft tissues to benefit physically active individuals since they are prone to problems and imbalances caused by strenuous repetitive physical activities. Regular sports massage sessions may improve one’s overall performance, aid recovery, and prevent injuries.
Benefits of Sports Massage
1. It eases muscle tension.
With high levels of force, professional hands of a massage therapist can work on tight and tender areas referred to as adhesions. Signals will then be sent to your brain to relax which significantly helps alleviate tension within the targeted muscle.
2. It improves recovery.
A thorough workout or activity can lead to muscle soreness and tightness which is the most common problem by athletes. Fortunately, sports massage can improve recovery by increasing circulation. In fact, regular massage therapy sessions can actually decrease the probability of an athlete experiencing muscle soreness.
3. It can increase range of motion by reducing the sense of fatigue.
Tight shoulders, hips, and other joint pains are other common issues experienced by athletes. A sports massage is designed to target stiff muscles which bind your joints. This will allow the person to move through a greater range of motion. In addition, sports massage is also suggested to reduce the feeling of tiredness also known as fatigue. When you feel undeniably tired, your body’s reaction is to limit your range of motion therefore by reducing the sense of fatigue, you’re body can give its optimum performance.
4. A sports massage works better than foam rolling.
Though foam rolling is great, it can only target large, broad muscles. A massage therapist’s fingers, thumbs, palms, and elbows can do so much that not even a lacrosse ball can replicate.
5. It is relaxing.
Nothing is better than lying comfortably inside a peaceful place with professional hands working on your tired and banged up body. This is definitely something that you can only get from a massage therapy as it calms and even alleviates physical pain and stress.
When to get a Sports Massage?
Ideally, athletes are recommended to get a sports massage at least once or twice a week. However, if this isn’t possible, a free and good option is to use a foam roller. Though again, it’s not as effective as a massage therapy.
If you’re about to take on a big game and plans to get a sports massage, be sure to have the massage 3-5 days before the big event. This will ensure that your muscles will be at optimum performance.