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Sports Massage benefits for Training and Performance

Sports Massage benefits for Training and Performance

Many athletes in the fitness industry swear by regular sports massage due to its abundance of benefits. This treatment can be attended pre or post-workout, during training or for rehabilitation. Additionally, you do not have to be an elite athlete to reap the benefits; recreational exercisers can also use it. So, what exactly is a sports massage?

Sports massage focuses on a systematic manipulation of the soft tissues and muscles within the body and those relevant to the specific sport. The famous Olympic runner Paavo Nurmi is known as one of the early adopters of sports massage. Nurmi claims to have used sports massage during the 1924 Paris Olympics where he proceeded to win five gold medals.

Supplementary, this is a therapy intended to prevent injuries and keep your body in a state that is fit to support the needs of the sport you partake in. If you are reading this and are not entirely convinced about how sports massage can help you, keep reading to understand its excellent benefits.

If your curious on when to get a sports massage, the answer is at any time. However, they can be especially beneficial before and after an important athletic event or race. And although the techniques are like a deep tissue massage, there are distinct differences between the two and their end goals. A comparison to understand this, having a sports massage over a deep tissue massage would more likely take your physical activities and exercise into consideration which allows the therapist to tailor the treatment to suit what you do in the gym and focus on the muscles used. On the other hand, a deep-tissue massage is more of an overall treatment concentrate on areas of pressure build-up caused by general lifestyle. It would not focus on improving your athletic performance.

However, do not expect not to feel any pressure during your massage, while they’re not intended to hurt, you may experience slight discomfort and tenderness. This is especially true for if the therapist is working on areas that are already injured or tight.  

This sports therapy includes an abundance of different massage techniques including Swedish style, stroking, kneading, compression, friction, tapotement (rhythmic striking), vibration, gliding, stretching, percussion, and trigger points. These styles and techniques are utilised to help the athlete’s body achieve maximum performance and mobility while decreasing injury and pain.

Benefits of Sports Massage

Flexibility and mobility: Intense, frequent training can cause tightness in the muscles, causing them to toughen up. This can prevent the muscles from being able to stretch optimally. Sports massage uses techniques of focused stroking to improve muscular flexibility and mobility correct imbalances, as well as releasing accumulated tensions from the sheaths around the muscles.

Ease stiff bones: Sometimes, muscle fibres can become adhered to one another or other soft tissues and bones in the body. Specific massage techniques used can help to release these adhesions and help with general mobility. 

Increase blood flow: Muscles that are over trained can become rigid, this reduces the amount of blood and nutrients they can hold, thus depriving the muscles of what they need. Sports massage helps to soften the muscles, which consequently improves the supply of nutrients to the tissues improving their overall health. Alongside this, it helps blood vessels dilate, and membrane pores widen during the massage, which allows better oxygen passage, as well as nutrients for the rebuilding of the muscles. 

Removes metabolic waste: As a result of increased blood flow, sports massage aids in the ejection of metabolic waste products (e.g. lactates) from tissues, further helping in recovery from activity.

Reduces Pain: Through the removal of pressure build-up caused by congestion and metabolic irritants, having this type of massage can help to relieve pain and release endorphins.

Relieves delayed onset muscle soreness: also known as ‘DOMS’, it is the muscular soreness experienced up to 72 hours after an intense workout. The stimulating action of massage strokes helps to promote blood and lymph flow throughout the body, which can help prevent muscle fatigue and encourage better oxygenation.

Promotes relaxation: This technique stimulates your sensory receptors that respond to touch. During the massage, your body relaxes and releases endorphins which lift your mood and help you de-stress, thus decreasing anxiety. 

Boosts performance: The greater amount of oxygen flowing to the muscles and soft tissues help them be more nourished and freer from toxins. The removal of these will significantly lead to a higher quality of performance and activity.

Many advantages of sports massage were reported on experience and observation-based reviews.

Side Effects

Possible side effects of sports massage include tenderness or stiffness for up to 2 days after the sports massage. Furthermore, a skin reaction can occur due to the massage oils used, but for the most part, sports massage is safe.


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By Ella Orrock