With fall endurance events coming to a close and spring endeavors on the horizon, the winter months are a perfect time to re-tune and rejuvenate your mind, body and muscles with regular massage therapy sessions. Whether you are looking for relief from pain, release of tension, reduction of stress for your mind and muscles, or simply to relax and feel your best as you prepare for your next event, a therapeutic massage can help to promote your mind and body’s health and well-being.
Therapeutic massage is a medically proven method for supporting an athlete’s health and wellness before, during and after training for and competing in a sporting event. Regular massages not only help with relieving back and neck pain, but they also can help to reduce the mental and physical stress associated with competing in a sport, while increasing your body’s circulation and range of motion. Sports massage in particular is an excellent massage technique for non-competitive and competitive athletes alike to prevent and treat injuries, relieve muscle soreness and pain, and enhance athletic performance.
Specifically, therapeutic massage can increase an athlete’s health and well-being by:
• Increasing circulation, which allows the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
• Stimulating the lymph system, the body's natural defense, against toxic invaders.
• Releasing endorphins, the body's natural painkiller, which can be critical for recovery from injuries and surgeries.
• Improving range of motion.
• Relaxing and softening injured and overused muscles from repetitive training or intense competition.
• Reducing muscle spasms and cramping before and after a sporting event.
• Increasing joint flexibility.
• Reducing recovery time from strenuous training workouts and eliminating subsequent risk of muscle strain.
• Reducing post-operative adhesions and edema, as well as reducing and realigning scar tissue after healing has occurred.
While massage therapy is widely known as a technique for relaxing your mind and body, it also is a critical tool for ensuring the health and wellness of individuals who live an active lifestyle. In fact, recent consumer surveys conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA) found that 75 percent of individuals surveyed said their primary reason for receiving massage was medical (43 percent) and stress (32 percent) related. Additionally, 87 percent of individuals view massage as being beneficial to overall health and wellness. (1)
Recent research also indicates that massage therapy reduces inflammation of skeletal muscle acutely damaged through exercise. A study from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University found evidence supporting the benefits of massage therapy for those with musculoskeletal injuries and potentially for those with inflammatory disease. Specifically, the study revealed evidence at the cellular level that massage therapy may affect inflammation in a way similar to anti-inflammatory medications. (2)
Whether you are a competitive athlete, weekend warrior or routinely active individual, studies support and peers agree that incorporating sports massage therapy into your training regimen is not only good for your mental health, but also for the health and wellness of your body’s muscles, joints and internal systems. Recuperate your mind and body this winter with regular massage therapy sessions.
(1) 2011 and 2010 AMTA Consumer Surveys, American Massage Therapy Association®
(2) J. D. Crane, D. I. Ogborn, C. Cupido, S. Melov, A. Hubbard, J. M. Bourgeois, M. A. Tarnopolsky, Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signaling After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage. Sci. Transl. Med. 4, 119ra13 (2012); Retrieved from www.amtamassage.org.