How Sports Massage Affects the body? Benefits and Tips

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Sports massage plays a huge role if you want to maximize your performance. Find out the benefits and tips you can use daily to make your body feel free!
Massage therapist and athlete during massage session

Who wouldn’t enjoy a nice massage under the hands of a professional therapist?

Even among professional athletes, there isn’t a single person, who wouldn’t swear by a sports massage either before or after a lengthy training session or a hard competition.

It has many benefits to the athlete’s body and soul while providing the ultimate relaxation. Almost every kind of sports team has an athletic therapist ready to go in their locker room!

Table of content

Sports massage vs classical deep tissue massage

For beginner massage enthusiasts it is sometimes difficult to understand or even feel the differences between sports and a classical deep tissue massage.

It is true that both of the massage types share many similarities. Targeting muscular issues while stretching or kneading and pressing the muscle.

However, the main focuses are completely different for both types of massages.

The purpose of a sports massage is to either heal a previous activity-caused injury or prevent an injury from happening.

The classical massage is wonderful if you have specific muscle knots or pains that you wish to ease.

If you’re a classic 9 a.m to 6 p.m office employee with bad posture and suffer from back or neck pain, you would benefit significantly from a classical massage.

Benefits of sports and classical deep tissue massage

How sports massage exactly helps athletes?

Sports massage was specially developed to help an athlete muscle system for a specific sporting activity while using a variety of approaches to help athletes in training (before or during), and after sports events.

Sports Massage might also be used to prevent muscle injuries. Also helping muscle strains while supporting healing after a sports injury.

Scientific studies show that just 10 minutes of massage has a great effect on muscle recovery. It also lowers the inflammation levels in the muscles. 

Other benefits from a sports massage

Flexibility

Professional athletes often are required to have a high degree of flexibility in their muscles.

It is either a must for the best possible performance or even for the safety of the athlete itself.

Sports massage can have a very positive effect on the athletes’ flexibility and give a great advantage over their competitors.

Blood Circulation

For perfect efficiency and performance or for even achieving great stamina, smooth and easy breathing is the key.

Sports massage increases and helps with the blood circulation which in turn helps to breathe more easily.  

Prevention and healing 

Injury is among one of the worst things that can happen to a professional athlete.

With some extra time and care, it can be completely avoidable.

A sports massage therapist can reduce muscle pain, increase the rate of healing, and aid in the overall recovery process. 

Relaxation and sleep

Recovery is the most important stage in a professional athlete’s body.

A night of good night sleep is valued and sought after by every professional athlete.

A professionally done sports massage can help to calm the mind, and the body, while prepping the athlete for a night of deep sleep.

How often should you enjoy sports massages?

A good massage therapist is your best guide to sports massages and practicing the DIY.

A massage therapist will go through your training and recovery program and recommend the best amount of sessions personally for you.

There are some important things to keep in mind. For example, If your goal is to address specific pain or tension, it can be helpful to visit the professional therapist at least 24-48 hours after your last hard training.

You need to give your muscles some time to recover. After that muscles can receive and respond to the specific and focused massage techniques.

What about amateur athletes, who don’t have the luxury of a personal therapist or frequent massage sessions?

There are many ways how an athlete can take over the therapist role and provide some quick relief – Self-massage sessions before, during, or after a heavy training/competition session.

Investing in foam rollers, massage guns, or small massage balls can have great benefits for your muscles.

Massage tools that every athlete should have in their homes

It might not be as relaxing as visiting a therapist, but it is still an effective way to warm up the muscles in order to prevent injuries.

Three valuable sports self-massage tips for a busy athlete

1. The Pre-Workout massage

Just a quick 5-10 minutes worth of massage can do wonders before a workout or even a competition.

For many athletes, massage is more effective than stretching. You’re less likely to tear a cold, stiff muscle with massage sessions than warming it up by stretching.

Use a foam roller to warm up and activate your muscles. Try to pay extra attention to the muscles that are prone to injuries or pain.

By working directly on the muscle area, it decreases the tension by expanding and warming it while making the muscles ready for a hard workout. 

2. Massage during a workout

The purpose of a massage during a workout or even competition is to address immediately a problem or a injury, to prevent it from getting worse.

Massaging cramped up muscles can help you to keep competing or training during the session.

Most minor muscle problems can be solved by massaging the muscle with a foam roller or another massaging tool that can easily fit into your training bag. 

3. Post-workout massage

Massaging your body after a long training session or heavy competition plays an essential part in a quick and successful recovery.

It is usually longer, from 20 to 60 minutes, and more intense and it doesn’t have to be done directly after the workout to get all the benefits.

You should start by warming up your body to provide nutrients and oxygen-enriched blood to the tired muscles.

Take your time with the foam roller, massaging the muscle group at least for 2-3 minutes before moving on to a new one.  

Foam rolling techniques – image source

Conclusion

Sports massage is something for every athlete- for amateurs and professionals, and even for very beginners.

It plays an essential part in pain and injury prevention at the same time having some very nice relaxing side effects for the body and soul.

If you are too busy to find time for professional sessions, you can always do it by yourself.

Invest in some tools and practice sports massage before, during, or after the session to get the maximum result!

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