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The Real Benefits of Massage Before and After A Workout

The Real Benefits of Massage Before and After A Workout

Massage is an ancient art and a form of physical therapy practiced in China, Greece, and India over 3000 years ago. However, massage found its way to the Western world through the work Per Henrik Ling who developed Swedish massage.

Furthermore, Ling is important to our discussion because his style of massage and ideas are the foundation of Sports Massage.

Although there are many styles of massage, sports massage is widely used by athletes. Definitely, unlike other types of massage sports massage go past encouraging relaxation and alleviating pain.
Rather, it improves the performance of athletes, prevents and aids the body in recovering from physical injury. Also, it eases muscle tension, encourages tissue repair and balances the muscle to ensure a safe workout.

What is Sports Massage?

Although different styles of massage employ different massage techniques they all aim to achieve – relaxation, relief, rejuvenation, and connection. Sports massage is a style of massage that manipulates the soft tissues of people involved in a regular physical activity.

Soft tissues are connective tissues in the body that is not as hard as a bone or cartilage. These include muscles, tendons, skin, ligaments, and fascia (ensheathes or lines other soft tissues). Therapists use their hands to apply pressure, stretch, and knead the muscles.

Assuredly, repetitive physical activities are strenuous and cause problems to soft tissues. Nonetheless, sports massage aims to correct these problems, imbalances or trauma caused by physical activity. Athletes receive sports massage before (pre) or after (post) exercise or physical activity to boost performance and prevent injury.

The principal mandate of sports massage is to restore your body and return you to your desired sports. With optimal function, performance and agility to excel as you did before. It makes use of different modalities such as trigger point, cross fiber techniques, remedial massage, and deep tissue massage.

Why is sports massage so important?

Indeed, sports massage has long been accepted in Canada, America, and Australia to maintain the health and wellbeing of athletes. Also, over the world athletes and exercise enthusiasts use sports massage to keep fit and stay healthy. Why is that? Because it supplements training, boosts recovery, enhances performance and reduces the chance of injury. How do these happen?

Benefits of sports massage
Like any other massage, sports massage possesses physical, psychological, and physiological advantages which lengthen an athlete’s career.

Physical benefits of sports massage

• Stretching – sports massage stretch tissues sideways and lengthwise more than the normal regular methods. Also, sports massage can stretch fascia or sheath that surround muscles, thereby releasing tension.
• Improves recovery speed – in a damaged or tight muscle, it squeezes out blood and prevents the muscle from receiving energy, nutrient. However, sports massage strokes add pressure and penetrate the muscles and leave a vacuum in muscles tissues to help it heal.
• Increased tissues permeability – one of the main techniques of sports massage is a deep massage style. Assuredly, deep massage opens the pores in tissues which allow nutrients and fluid through. This removes waste, lactic acid and boosts the muscle to take in nutrient and oxygen in order to recover faster.
• Break down scar tissues – previous trauma and injuries in tissues leave a scar which affects the tendons, muscle, and ligaments. This leads to inflexibility, injury, and pain. However, sports massage techniques melt scar tissues and rejuvenate the muscles.
• Opens micro-circulation – massage not only improves blood flow to tissues but, dilate and stretch blood vessels to allow easy passage of nutrient.
• Tissue elasticity – training hard without sports massage make the tissue inelastic and hard. However, sports massage improves the elasticity of tissues reverses the effect of hard training.

Psychological benefits of sports massage

• Energizing – pre-sports massage is aimed at energizing athletes and preparing them for victory.
• Reducing anxiety – as an athlete, relaxing your muscles before a physical activity with sports massage will greatly reduce the anxiety you will feel.

Physiology benefits of sports massage

• Relaxation – the massage techniques of sports massage which involves stretching, circulation movement, and pressure creates heat and relax the muscles. Besides, mechanoreceptors sense pressure, touch, and warmth which result in a reflex relaxation.

• Pain reduction –tension accumulates in the muscle and cause pain. But then, sports massage reduces tension and waste and release endorphins – euphoria chemical that masks pain.
There are four types of sports massage with different benefits, these include:

Pre-event sports massage
It involves massaging body parts in exertion for 10 minutes before an event.

Post-event sports massage
It involves massaging the body within one or two hours after an event to normalize your body tissues.

Restorative sports massage
This type of massage is given during training to allow the body to train hard and with less injury.

• Rehabilitation sports massage
It helps alleviate pain from an injury sustained during physical exercise.

Difference between Pre and Post Massage

Pre and post sports or workout massage is aimed at improving your recovery and performance as an athlete. Also, it prepares the body for physical exercise or activity and relaxes the muscles after an exercise or activity.

Pre-event massage
This type of sports or workout massage helps competitors or athletes perform optimally. It reduces the chance of sustaining an injury during an event or workout. Pre-event sports or workout massage is usually brisk and vigorous, but, not as deep as a regular massage. Indeed, pre-event massage improves blood circulation which helps you attain greater flexibility and range motion in the joints and muscles.

Definitely, this reduces any chance of injury, anxiety, and nerve. Hence, athletes are highly advised to receive a pre-event massage before engaging in any physical activity.

Post-event massage
Granted, the same massage techniques used in pre-event massage is also used in post-event massage. But it differs according to the recovery needs of different athletes. Post-event massage is best performed slowly with deeper and longer strokes with the aim to help athletes relax mentally and physically.

Additionally, this type of sports massage allows the therapist to locate overworked muscles and help them relax faster. Again, post-event massage reduces the time of recovery and flush out lactic acid waste in the muscles. It allows oxygen to moves easily around the body and improves blood circulation to the muscles.

Workout enthusiasts and athletes are highly advised to receive pre and post-event massage before their activity to:
• Prepare the muscle
• Prevent the muscles from trauma, injury and
• To help the muscle recovery after workouts or physical activities.

Now that you know how to take care of your muscles and body before and after straining them. Make sure you give them the care they deserve – a Sports Massage session.

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