Massage therapy is often an overlooked component of good athletic training.
Yet the benefits of including this type of “passive” modality into an athlete’s routine can mean the difference between reaching training goals in a more balanced way and overstressing the body. Neglecting the body and just going for the “burn” can sometimes spell disaster and lead to injuries requiring months of recovery on the sports’ sideline.
After an intense period of training, a sports massage helps the body rest, recover, and return to a condition called “homeostasis” (an equalization of the body). Our body is always looking to return to this sense of balance. A sports massage can speed this process and allow the athlete to recover faster from the wear and tear sports place on the body and to return more quickly from injury.
Before & After
A vigorous sports massage before an athletic competition helps pump oxygenated blood to the muscles to get them warmed up for peak performance. After competition, a massage can help decrease recovery time and muscular stiffness. This massage tends to be aimed more towards vascular flushing to re-oxygenate the muscles with fresh blood as well as lengthen the muscles to stop them from spasming and contracting. Natural creams such as Arnica can also aid in muscular recovery by decreasing muscular tension and pain. Remember the next time your young athlete begins to plan for a major athletic event that massage therapy is not a luxury; it can play an important role in keeping your child’s body balanced, healthy, and injury free.