Whether you're a professional athlete or a weekend warrior in Stony Plain or Spruce Grove, sports massage therapy offers a wide array of health benefits that can help keep you at the top of your game. Although the specific bodywork techniques will vary based on the type of sport being played, the overall goal remains the same: To address areas of the body that experience stress, strain and overuse due to repetitive motions.
For example, a football quarterback might experience shoulder soreness in his throwing arm, or a tennis player might suffer from shooting pain in her forearm due to tennis elbow. As the popularity of this specialized form of bodywork continues to grow, more and more athletes are discovering how sports massage therapy can be implemented to boost endurance, increase flexibility, reduce fatigue, prevent injury, and improve overall athletic performance.
Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy
1. Relieves Stress-Induced Muscle Tension
Stress is one of the primary culprits behind muscle tension, and as you well know, participating in a highly competitive sport can sometimes be extraordinarily stressful. When you receive this highly customized massage treatment, your body will respond by releasing "feel-good" hormones known as endorphins. These powerful natural brain chemicals (a.k.a. neurotransmitters) act as a type of mood-booster, which minimizes stress and brings on feelings of pleasure and/or euphoria. This can aid the mind and body by decreasing anxiety and acting as a natural pain medicine.
2. Prevents Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) refers to soreness or pain that typically develops between 12 to 24 hours after engaging in physical exercise. Through sports massage therapy, clients can experience increased circulation and improved movement of lymph (a natural fluid produced by the body to fight infections) throughout the body, which will minimize the muscle fatigue that leads to DOMS.
3. Increases Range of Motion
When your joints are operating at their full movement potential, it can have a substantial positive impact on your athletic performance. By the same token, a limited range of motion can hinder your ability to perform at peak levels. One of the most beneficial aspects of this form of bodywork--especially in comparison to other forms of massage therapy--is that it focuses on targeting muscle-tendon junctions to improve mobility and range of motion. And it works, too--for example, one study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that hip flexor range of motion could be significantly improved by a simple 30-second massage.
4. Improves Athletic Performance
When your muscles are sore, stiff, inflexible, or fatigued, it's going to be hard for them to perform at their best. By receiving regular bodywork treatments, your muscles can remain in optimal condition to help you operate at peak performance levels.
5. Prevents Injury
At Blissful Balance Massage, we believe that targeted bodywork treatments can improve the elasticity and flexibility of your muscles, which is a key factor in helping to prevent injuries. No matter what type of sport or physical activity you participate in, sports massage therapy can make a highly effective addition to your regular training regimen. Be sure to consult with a certified massage therapist like myself to find out what type of bodywork treatment would be the best fit in light of your schedule, budget and physical activity level. I would love to hear from you soon!