Regular sports massages can play a regular role in the life of athletes and non-athletes, whether they are injured or not. Sports massage has multiple benefits including, physiological, physical and psychological. Which can all help to boost performance and alleviate pain in specific muscles.
Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
Following exercise sports massage can be key to help prevent the onset of DOMS, these are the aches and pain we feel up to 48 hours following exercise. By encouraging increased blood flow to remove waste products from the muscles which can build up and cause DOMS.
They are many factors which can cause muscles to become tight and stiff, including exercise and lack of exercise (if you don’t use it you lose it!). Sports massage can help to remedy this by stretching muscle tissues to help release tension or pressure build up, leading to improved mobility. Also, by decreasing the body's sensitivity to stretch, it will also allow joints to move more freely.
Breakdown of Scar Tissue
Scar tissue occurs because of a previous injury or trauma and it can directly affect muscles. This leads to muscles becoming inflexible and becoming more prone to injury and pain. Also, when looking at recurring muscle injuries - massage can even encourage collagen to be laid down in the correct way; preventing those annoying strains that can hamper your progress! Sports massage again can help to reduce scar tissue by re-aligning muscle tissues and fibres and in turn reducing pain and injury risk.
Muscles relax when heat is generated and when circulation is increased. Which demonstrates how sports massage can assist with helping muscles relax by pressure and contact which causes the muscle tissues to lengthen and warm stimulating relaxation of the muscles. Also, there have been many studies shown that massage can also aid with mental well being by reducing stress, and also allowing patients to unwind after a stressful day...some of our patients regularly fall asleep during our massages!!
As stated above sports massage helps to increase blood flow to the muscles, which also occurs during exercise. But during a sports massage, blood vessels dilate, and this allows for nutrients to pass into and out of the muscle more effectively, helping to remove any waste products that have built up in the muscle. If you're training regularly, this increase in blood flow can vastly aid with recovery and give you a much "fresher" feeling for your next training session.