Due to their rigorous training schedule, athletes are always at an increased risk of suffering from an injury. Then again, since they need to practice for long hours everyday, the recovery time which the muscles in their body get, might be much lesser than what is actually required, thus adding on to their woos. This is where an ancient therapy known as massage, comes to the rescue of the sports persons.
In this therapy, various movements and techniques are used, in order to manipulate the tissues of the body, such as, stroking, kneading, striking the body in a rhythm, stretching, pumping, creating a pressure on the trigger points, etc. These sports massage techniques are known to have many advantages for the athletes and aid in improving upon their performance as well.
Sports Massage Therapy Benefits for Athletes
Enhanced Flexibility and Quicker Recovery
One of the chief benefits is that it improves the blood circulation and helps in eliminating the toxins such as lactic acid, that accumulate in the body during exercising. Once the wastes get eliminated, the muscles of the body are able to absorb the nutrients properly. This helps in enhancing the flexibility of the muscles as well as fastening their healing process, thus leading to faster recovery in between exercising and training sessions as well as reduction in any muscle pain that the athlete might be experiencing.
Heals Problematic Areas
If an athlete has some specific trouble areas in his body, which tend to suffer frequent injuries or which are more painful than others, the sports massage therapist can work specifically on these and help in repairing them.
Many athletes suffer from over-training syndrome, which is a result of not taking enough rest in between exercising. Some of the symptoms of this syndrome are a tendency to injure oneself frequently, problems in sleeping, pain in the body and reduced appetite. With sports massage therapy, all these symptoms can be taken care of. This therapy helps an athlete to relax mentally and recover physically, thus, helping him improve his performance immensely.
Relaxes and Calms the Mind
There are many psychological benefits as well. If it is undertaken before a tournament, it can energize a sports person and make him alert. On a regular basis, if slower techniques of massage therapy are undertaken, they reduce stress and anxiety, mentally calming and relaxing the sports person, at the same time. As everyone is aware that there is a deep mind-body connection, if an athlete is mentally relaxed, it will definitely improve his physical fitness and performance as well.
Sports massage therapy works well for everybody, however there are some conditions in which it should be avoided, such as when a person has fever over 100°F, if he suffers from some underlying conditions like tumors, cancer, melanoma, Hemophilia, varicose veins, diabetes, thrombosis, amongst many others, if he suffers from some infectious skin disease, such as a fungal infection, herpes and a bacterial infection or if there is an open wound, a muscle tear, a burn or a sprained ligament in the body.
Although, sports massage therapy is believed to provide many physical benefits, such as improved blood circulation, increased flexibility, reduction in muscle tears and pain, reduced recovery time in between training and decreased possibility of an injury, yet there has been no research done in the field, which confirms that it actually benefits the body in all these ways. Of course, its psychological benefits, such as, it relaxes the mind and makes a person stress-free have been proved to be scientifically correct.
However, this in no way should deter athletes from trying this therapy, cause even if it does not have any positive impact on the body, it will certainly help the athlete to stay stress-free, which will in a way contribute to improving his performance during the sports events!