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Sports Massage Not Just for Elite Athletes

  May 07, 2017

By Michael Haught, Keystone Body Therapies

Sports and fitness are a major part of many people’s lives. Most people understand the benefits of diet and exercise in order to stay healthy, but many are still unsure about the benefits of massage therapy and alternative care.

Sports massage has been around for thousands of years. The Greeks and Romans were very clear on the benefits of massage on the athletes of their day. Galen (AD 30-200), who was a well-known Roman physician, prescribed massage for the gladiators both before and after exercising. At the 1924 Paris Olympic Games, a Finnish runner named Paavo Nurmi, the “flying Finn,” brought a personal massage therapist with him. Paavo won five gold medals in running events. He claimed his success was in part due to his training program, which included massage therapy treatment. In the late 1970s, sports massage became a modality unto itself within the U.S. with more specific training taking place for the practitioner to be able to address the specific needs of athletes whose bodies are undergoing intense physical exertion and stress.

Some still tend to think that massage is just a luxury, or that sports massage is for elite athletes. The truth is that sports massage is beneficial to everyone who is active, no matter the age, skill level, or experience. Receiving sports massage will increase range of motion, decrease inflammation, and speed up recovery time, as well as enhance muscle performance and reduce the risk of injury. The therapist will focus specifically on areas of overuse that might be more prone to injury due to continuous repetitive motion.

Massage can be effective before, after, and in-between sporting events. In a pre-event session, typically 30 minutes to two hours before the event, the therapist will work at a more rapid pace to stimulate and loosen muscle tissue. This will allow more blood flow to the muscles, enhancing performance and minimizing the chance of injury. Post-event sessions are typically slower and include more stretching than in a pre-event. The main goal of a post-event massage is to increase blood flow, decrease inflammation, and release adhesions in the muscles. These can be performed the same day, after muscles have cooled down and relaxed.

A case study on the effects of post-event massage on ultramarathon runners showed a significant decrease in delayed-onset muscle soreness. 240 runners were tested and their pain scale averaged over eight when they started and decreased to around three after the massage. Along with pre and post-event massage, it is recommended that the athlete also receive regular maintenance massage during their training. An analytical review of 22 case studies proved that maintenance massage yielded high positive effects after high-intensity workouts for trained and untrained athletes.

If you or anyone you know participates in sports or other activities and would like to learn more about the benefits of sports massage, schedule a free consultation today. Contact Keystone Body Therapies in Chandler at 480-686-8647 or book online at Back to Top

May 07, 2017

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