During the Rio Olympics, there was a lot of discussion about massage therapy and how many Olympic athletes incorporate regular massage as an integral part of their hard work and training. What do they know that keeps them strong and healthy through all their years of practice?
Sports Massage is their “Secret Weapon”
Research shows that massage therapy can benefit athletes of all fitness levels, and Olympic Athletes are no exception. So how can a massage strategy keep both the Olympic and average athlete strong and pain free?
1. Reduce DOMS
DOMS is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness which is an ongoing problem for every athlete. Inflammation is one of the reasons an athlete’s overused muscles ache 48 hours after strenuous activity. Massage will increase the blood flow to the muscles to speed healing and reduce toxins. Combine this with gentle, low-stress activity and the pain goes away.
2. Increase Agility
Agility, the ability to move quickly in another direction, is part of most Olympic Athletes’ requirements. And this agility can be improved with a massage focused on critical stress points, both before and after the action. In fact, some studies have shown that a shorter massage on only the specific muscle groups was more effective than the longer, more relaxing Swedish Massage.
3. Injury Prevention
Injuries are often prevented with a short, pre-activity Sports Massage, tailored to the particular muscle group that will be stressed. Tendons and ligaments are relaxed and more likely to stretch than tear, while blood flow keeps the harmful chemicals from building as fast.
4. Speed Healing
The human body is an amazing machine with the ability to heal itself when provided with the right tools. Massage improves circulation which allows this fast healing while carrying away the chemicals that cause muscle damage. Combine massage with healthy eating which provides the proper fuel, and this human-machine runs (and heals) smoothly and quickly.
5. Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s immune response to injury, infection, or toxic chemicals. It’s the localized buildup of white blood cells, dead red blood cells, and bacteria, which cause that area to redden, swell, become hot, and is often painful. It’s a sign that something is wrong (both good and bad), and will usually clear up over time. However, a massage after strenuous exercise will reduce the inflammation quickly, and allow the healing to occur sooner.
So take advantage of the secret Olympic athletes know and include the Sports Massage benefits as part of your personal workout plan. You’ll get better results and enjoy your activities more than ever. That’s a gold medal reason to incorporate massage therapy into your routine.