Whether you’re a week-end warrior, a leisurely stroller or an avid athlete, you can benefit from massage therapy. Exercise is good for everyone, and massage therapy has been used by many professional and amateur athletes over the years to improve performance, reduce pain, prevent injuries, and shorten recovery time.
Besides working individual muscles and muscle groups, massage affects the cardiovascular system by dilating blood vessels, helping them to work more efficiently in circulation of blood. Effectively moving blood back to the heart assists it in efficiently delivering fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue promoting the removal of waste products and toxins.
Getting rid of waste products such as lactic acid helps to relieve muscle tension and reduce soreness making for a faster recovery. Relaxed muscles also experience increased range of motion and flexibility, as explained in a study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. This can help lessen the chance of injury and lead to better athletic performance.
The latest research at McMaster University in Ontario shows that massage reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of new mitochondria, the energy-producing centers in the cells.
Sports massage even produces psychological benefits including reduced stress, tension and anxiety, which is important to competitive athletes. An increase in dopamine and serotonin levels which make you feel good, and a reduction in cortisol levels which are directly linked to stress, encourage a more focused and balanced state – a good thing to have before going into any sport, group exercise class or competition.
Research suggests that while occasional massages are beneficial, there are more lasting benefits to a regular massage program. Like exercise, your benefits are cumulative, meaning the more regularly you receive a massage, the more you’ll reap the advantages. Think of it as preventative maintenance. Sports massage specialists recommend scheduling once a week or every other week if you’re training at a high level.
We at Beach Massage & Bodywork Delivered have massaged hundreds of athletes who come to St. Croix annually to participate in triathlons and other sporting events. We also exercise regularly and understand anatomy, physiology and body mechanics. We have the experience and knowledge to help you get the most from your fitness program.