The Benefits of Sports Massage

Think of any sport that involves running. Did you know that a single running stride commands over 25 muscles in just the lower body to perform the action? This doesn’t even include the postural muscles necessary to maintain efficient form.

In a research study done by various Orthopedic Physicians, Physical Therapists and Clinical Sports Therapists the most common recognized factors contributing to running injuries are:

  • Muscle Weakness
  • Poor Flexibility
  • Training errors
  • Poor or abnormal lower extremity biomechanics
  • Poor fitted running shoes.

Constant muscle tightness will eventually cause muscle weakness. When a muscle does not utilize it’s full range of motion it becomes weaker through out the whole range. When the shortened muscle starts to fatigue it recruits surrounding muscles to help perform the tasks of the tired muscle. If you choose not to allow sufficient recovery of the working muscles your performance will be hindered. Rest and recovery can come in many forms. Massage therapy is not only popular, but when used on a regular basis is restorative and therapeutic.

The purpose of any massage is to bring about any physiologic, mechanical, reflexive or psychological effects. (psychological effects? Think stress!) Massage assists venous flow (circulation), encourages lymphatic response (filtering powerhouses), reduces swelling, relieves subcutaneous scar tissues and provides a gentle stretching of the tissues.

Most professional athletes, or those serious about their performances, have a strong relationship with their massage therapist. “Sports Massage” is a term used to define a type of massage technique. The purpose of a sports massage prior to an event can warm up the muscles and tissues by providing increased blood flow to the muscles that will soon be performing. Techniques are used to increase joint range of motion and provide stretch effectively to specific muscles. Sports massage prior to an event is quick paced, used to stimulate the body & nervous system. Sports massage following an event is slower and more sedative to help the body recover from the rigors of the event.

It’s important for the massage therapist to understand various techniques with sports massage. A sports massage can be effective 2hours – 48hours prior to or following an event. Athletes well versed in self massage (foam roller, massage stick, etc.) can help prevent injury in between massage appointments. Consistent soft tissue work (massage) is a necessary component of any successful sports program.

-Jenny Lindley

MA = Masters degree – Holistic Wellness
Bachelor’s degree – Health Science
LMT = Licensed Massage Therapist
CKTP = Certified Kinesio-Taping practitioner

Sunny Runner

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