Can a Sports Massage Improve My Fitness?

The following is an interesting, thought-provoking and detailed guest post article on Sports Massage and whether it can improve our fitness. The guest article was kindly provided by Scott Beaman and written by Hannah Griffiths who is a physiotherapist and content writer for Harris and Ross (http://www.harrisandross.co.uk/), providers of professional physiotherapy and healthcare services to patients who specialise in a range of sports around the world.

Enjoy the read,

Matt

There are many benefits to sports massages including improving muscle length and aligning the body, increasing circulation, reducing pain and swelling, eliminating stress, releasing happy hormones, improving sleep, preventing injury, getting rid of scar tissue and speeding up healing time following injuries.

How do sports massages work?
Sports massages are advantageous to amateur and professional athletes alike for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which is their ability to increase circulation by maximising blood flow to the muscles and tendons worked during exercise.

Hard exercise tightens the muscles and results in reduced blood flow at the time when it is needed most. By improving blood flow massage helps to take away unwanted waste products and deliver nutrients including glycogen which is vital to replenishing the glucose stores lost when working out, as well as ions for muscle contraction and proteins which are the building blocks for repairing damaged fibres and connective tissues. This allows your muscles to grow stronger and more efficient for daily life. For example if you are someone who is exercising regularly, maybe competing in your chosen sport, then this will enable you to recover quicker and more efficiently between matches, races or gym classes.

Why should I get a sports massage?
Sports massages can help reduce pain and promote recovery from a number of injuries including plantar fasciitis, runner’s knee, Achilles tendopathies and lower back pain. Special techniques can promote the repair of tissues and reduce inflammation which causes swelling while also helping to remove the chemicals which make us feel pain at the point of injury.

Massages can also be used to prevent injuries. A skilled therapist will be able to identify and release or breakdown: tight muscles, trigger points (taut bands of muscle are a common source of pain) and scar tissue which can build up as a result of the stresses and strains of everyday life. If untreated a muscle imbalance around joints can lead to misalignment and the overloading of muscles resulting in tears, stiff joints and trapped nerves.

Are sports massages only for regular sports participants?
It’s not only those who play sports on a regular basis who can benefit from sports massages, but anyone who spends large amounts of time sitting at a desk in a flexed posture. Over time tension builds up in the shoulders and neck and surprisingly, this can be a common cause of headaches. Fitness trainers frequently find patients coming to them who suffer from headaches and aren’t responding to painkillers, who are then pain free following a 30 minute session releasing muscles in the neck and base of the skull.

Massage is an alternative method of pain relief for those suffering from chronic tissue pain. People suffering from conditions that include fibromyalgia, arthritis and hypermobility syndrome have reported noticeable improvements with regular massage.

In addition, there is a real 'feel good' factor from a deep tissue treatment. Because it can be painful, the body will release endorphins (feel good hormones) in response, which can lighten the patient’s mood post massage; which is great for promoting general wellbeing. By improving lymphatic drainage massage can have a positive effect on the immune system and even our skin - an organ massage can nourish it, leaving skin looking brighter and clearer.

In conclusion, there are numerous benefits to sports massages, beyond the release of tight muscles, so don’t be fooled into thinking they’re only for athletes. A sports massage can do wonders for the wellbeing of even those with the most sedentary of lifestyles.

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