Massage therapy has been associated with a number of healthy and helpful effects. It reduces stress, improves mood, aids in flexibility, and even helps lower blood pressure! One bit of common knowledge is that massage helps athletes by removing lactic acid from the muscle after a vigorous work out. Surprisingly, this is an incorrect understanding*, but sports massage is still effective for reasons other than the release of lactic acid!
Dr. Owen Anderson, an exercise physiologist and published author, points out that lactic acid is a by-product of muscles metabolizing energy, a completely natural process that occurs during exercise. In fact, lactic acid doesn’t hang around in the muscles for very long after exercise and doesn’t cause stiffness or the “burn” we associate with intensive workouts. It’s usually gone by the time an athlete receives a massage! Does this mean that sports massage can’t do anything to help recovery? Not at all! Sports massage is still incredibly helpful when it comes to easing tension, improving flexibility, and slowing down the use of energy by the muscles which can help an athlete relax and recover after an event. More recent research** has shown that massage therapy can reduce inflammation and mild tearing to the muscle tissues that actually does cause soreness on top of reducing stiffness and increasing flexibility!
Just because lactic acid functions differently than we once believed does not mean that massage therapy has no place in your workout routine! If you’re training for an event like a marathon, trying to reach a more personal fitness goal, or even competing in a pick up tournament, then massage therapy can help you and your muscles recovery and even prevent injury in the future! Call Elements Massage in Gilbert to book a session of sports massage and see for yourself! 480.726.2222.