The Perks of a Sports Massage
Are Sports Massages worth the Money and Time – or should we just foam roll and put our feet up in front of the TV after a hard session?
We’ve all heard of a sports massage but are they actually worth having? I mean, let’s face it, they can be pretty painful and every now and then you may let out a cheeky scream and kick your therapist in the face (true story). But no pain no gain…right? For those who have yet to experience an elbow in their bum (ahem glute) or massage on a tight shin you may be on the fence as to whether this form of torture is valuable to our bodies. Are they beneficial to those who are active and can they help us train better?
The answer is a big fat yes. And here’s why…
Helps circulation and removes waste
Massage helps flush out toxins, lactate acid and other waste products. The massage action improves circulation as it helps move the blood flow through congested areas and stimulates the flow of blood to tissues. This in turn reduces muscle ache, fatigue and stiffness allowing the muscles to recover and be fit for purpose sooner.
Prevents overuse injuries
Massage keeps muscles and tendons pliable, enables a full range of movement and prevents overuse as it keeps the muscles and connective tissue from getting too tight especially after repetitive exercise. By loosening the muscles it allows them to lengthen and return to their pre exercise state quicker. Many of us find that the muscles we use regularly continue to get tighter and tighter until they no longer seem to want to relax. This is when we start to get niggles and feel things ‘pulling’. Massage can help restore the muscle to its original length which can help to keep on top of those knots and niggles!
It relieves muscle tension and inflammation caused by activity. Massage helps release tight muscles as mentioned above and helps blood and lymph flow which encourages better oxygenation (an increase in oxygen to muscle cells) which in turn speeds up the recovery process.
A massage on stiff and fatigued muscles may not always be comfortable but can gradually nurse the muscle into relaxing which allows for deeper pressure with less discomfort decreasing muscle tension and increasing pliability and length.
Breaks down scar tissue
Scar tissue is produced after injury or muscle damage by a build-up of collagen. The function of collagen fibre is to help the body repair and heal its tissues, however a build up of this can become restrictive and massage helps manipulate the tissue and break it down so it does not become a hinderance. Massage can reduce stiffness allowing the area to regain its flexibility and usual range of movement.
Massage encourages the muscles to relax and in turn you to relax. Yes, it may hurt a little, especially in problem areas or if you are particularly squeamish but as a whole it gets deep into the muscle tissue in a way that stretching and foam rolling cannot. When you’ve had a good old massage you’ll feel much looser and after a day or two feel like a whole new athlete!
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