Sports Massage is a type of massage therapy that utilizes deep tissue techniques, to relieve muscular tension, discomfort, and pain. Athletes greatly benefit from sports massage therapy.
However, this type of therapy is not restricted to athletes only – everyone can benefit from sports massage therapy.
Sports massage therapies help activate the parasympathetic system in our bodies which is responsible for the inner workings of your body.
Compression techniques influence the blood flow and nerve reflexes within the muscle, which when stimulated leads to a relaxation effect within the muscle itself.
As your breathing rate slows down, your blood pressure goes down, your production of stress hormones decreases, and your muscles relax.
Our bodies do not function properly when under stress. Thus, massage helps reduce the production of stress hormones running through our bodies. This is very crucial to reduce unwanted injury and illness. Sports massage therapy focuses on the soft and connective tissue injuries that are caused by repetitive activities.
Moreover, a sports massage is effective in relieving stress as it encourages the release of certain neurotransmitters, called endorphins, which are secreted from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. These endorphins are the body’s natural pain reliever.
By relaxing our muscles, the blood supply in our bodies increases, allowing important nutrients to be delivered to the muscles. This also helps the body to remove any unwanted build-up from the muscles, and increases the body’s overall circulation, rejuvenating and repairing muscles that take a beating with repetitive activities.
Reduces Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
As stress decreases, so does the tension. Sports massage therapy leads to a more efficient vascular system. After good massage therapy, there is less pressure put on the heart to circulate blood around the body efficiently.
This release of tension allows the heart not to work that hard to pump blood all around the body. Soothing a rapid heartbeat also helps balance the body as well as relieving physical and emotional stress.
Reduces Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness makes you unable to move properly for several days and can be a result of a workout of muscle straining. By sports massage therapy, waste products from your muscles will be flushed out and the muscle tissue will relax- helping it to repair and alleviate the pain.
Increases Lymphatic System Activity
The lymph system is an integral part of our body- it maintains the fluid levels in our body tissues by removing all fluids that leak out of our blood vessels, and helps in our body’s immune responses. Sports massage helps increase the lymphatic activities in our bodies. This is one of the reasons why you’ll feel thirsty after the massage therapy.
A stimulated lymph flow means greater lymphatic drainage. A more stimulated lymphatic system not only works to improve the body’s recovery time but also helps prevent conditions like lymphedema and oedema.
Moreover, by applying technical and mechanical pressure to the connective tissue and muscles, toxins are released around the joints. As time passes, if these toxins are unaddressed, they can accumulate, causing severe injuries more frequently. These toxins are, therefore, ‘flushed’ when stimulated by applying pressure to the connective tissue and muscles.
This mechanical pressure helps ensure a good blood supply to all tissues, but also the ‘venous return. The venous return refers to the flow of blood back to the heart- which is also crucial for removing toxins from the body. This venous return is also what helps in recovery.
Irregular or excessive exercise can cause lactic acid to be released, which also restricts blood and oxygen in contracting muscles, which leads to pain and muscle wear and tear.
Massage helps increase the movement of the joints in our bodies by lengthening and stretching out our muscles. It also increases the synovial fluid inside our joints. Thus, you will experience a smoother and pain-free movement.
Improves Your Performance
Well-kept muscles will allow you to walk longer, run faster, jump higher, swim further, lift heavier, or even improve that golf swing. With sports massage therapy, both ranges of motion and muscle flexibility improve.
When the body moves properly, we can carry out our daily activities properly without being drained so quickly. Moreover, massage also improves muscle tone by mechanically stimulating the reflexes within the muscle.
Breaks Down Scar Tissues
Scar tissue often occurs after an injury or trauma and can result in pain and inelasticity. Sports massage helps break down scar tissue, alleviating pain and discomfort. A massage helps break down adhesions and collagen fibers that can be caused as a result of scar tissue. Adhesions restrict movement and this increases pain increasing stress.
Sports massage can help reduce stress, relieve any muscle aches, improve your sleep and improve your mood as well. If you’re suffering from sleep problems, such as insomnia, sports massage therapy will help you correct your sleep cycle. Studies have shown that massage therapies help release hormones in our bodies that create a sense of emotional connection. Massage will also help calm your mind and improve your mood.
Massage therapy also lowers cortisol, which is a hormone that is produced in response to stress, by an average of 30%. And when cortisol levels decrease, serotonin is increased in our bodies by 28%. Serotonin is one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms that also helps to decrease anxiety and feelings of sadness.
Therefore, sports massage therapy will be just as vital and valuable as the physical benefits it offers. A massage will provide cherishing and nurturing place for you to relax, refocus and find clarity. It will also increase awareness of the mind-body connection, and will generate confidence, and enhance self-image and self-worth.
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