With summer kicked into high gear, for many of you this also means that you’ve increased your physical activities, enjoying this gorgeous Minnesota summer to its fullest. Whether you’re a serious athlete running marathons every few weeks or a weekend warrior who just loves playing outdoors on your days off, sports massage is a wonderful treatment geared towards athletes of all kinds. Not only does sports massage greatly increase circulation to improve muscle recovery and flexibility, it also promotes relaxation while reducing muscle, joint, and nerve pain.
What Is Sports Massage?
Sports massage promotes injury recovery and is designed specifically to stimulate and maintain peak athletic performance. While sports massage can address multiple areas of the body, the technique generally focuses on a specific group of muscles, and muscle-tendon junctions, related to the athlete’s sport of choice. For instance, while runners prefer a focus on the legs and hips, rowers might benefit more from massage centered on the core, lower back, and knees. Sports massage involves deep tissue techniques to improve blood flow and often combines massage with active and passive stretching.
#1 Increases Circulation
Deep tissue massage used in injury recovery stimulates blood flow and the flow of lymph vessels, releasing toxins and cellular debris from the muscles, while increasing oxygen flow, thus improving circulation and the body’s ability to recover and heal. A therapist uses specific hands motions and strokes that directs blood flow to the heart. Additionally, this technique strengthens the immune system.
#2 Increases Flexibility
Because sports massage focuses on specific muscle groups and muscle-tendon junctions, involving soft connective tissues, joints, tendons, and ligaments, flexibility is significantly improved. Therefore, increased flexibility optimizes overall athletic performance by improving range of motion and posture, while minimizing the risk of injury.
#3 Speeds Up Recovery
For all kinds of athletes, an injury can set them back, thus decreasing their ability to perform at a high level. Therefore, most athletes want to treat the injury efficiently and recover quickly to get back to their sport of choice. Sports massage then helps speed up the recovery process by improving circulation, while decreasing soreness and pain caused by the overuse and fatigue of specific muscle groups.
#4 Promotes Relaxation
Massage therapy incorporates focused hand movements and deep strokes that relaxes muscle tissues, relieving muscle tension, pain, and stiffness. Massage improves circulation bringing blood flow to injured muscle groups, thus increasing the ability of oxygen and nutrients to replenish the muscles, helping them relax and heal.
#5 Reduces Pain
Because athletes push themselves extremely hard, muscles are often overused and fatigued, which causes painful muscle contractions and spasms. As a result of increased strain on muscles, muscle spasms often cause nerve compression that is very painful, which can trigger numbness and tingling. Massage therapy reduces these uncomfortable spasms, thus releasing pressure on the compressed nerves.
If you have any questions about sports massage and injury recovery, and would like to schedule an appointment with our amazing team of massage therapists, please call Hopkins Health and Wellness today. Using the DMR (Diagnose, Manage, Rehabilitate) Method, our goal is to help you recover efficiently and quickly. We look forward to working with you!