Sports massage is a valuable tool to help maintain balance in your muscles, healthy circulation and stretching of soft tissue thereby helping to prevent injury as well as aiding rehabilitation from injury. Sports massage can also contribute to improved performance and endurance both in the immediate and long term – looking after muscles can help them to perform to a higher level for longer in life and massage can go a good way to promoting healthy local muscle and overall body condition.
One of the primary benefits of massage is that it plays a strong role in aiding circulation throughout muscles. Good circulation allows healthy nutrients and oxygen to 'feed' the muscle, helping it grow and repair itself while waste products are moved away. Regular massage can improve efficiency, particularly in deeper muscles, meaning muscles are able to grow and repair quicker and more entirely.
Massage can also reduce “blockages” that inhibit elasticity and performance – this can be hardening in muscles due to overuse or scar tissue following damage, for example sprains or DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) after intensive training. This helps to improve performance and ease immediate pain and can help prevent future problems that arise when your body, often without you being aware of it, compensates for this lack of elasticity and takes on strain elsewhere. For example, releasing excessively tight calf muscles can prevent a tear to the Achilles tendon.
Sports massage can ease pain that occurs from metabolic wastes accumulating after exercise that has seen excessive muscle tension depriving tissue of oxygen. The lack of circulation causes a loss of elasticity in the muscle which leads to pain. When the area is massaged endorphins are released that ease pain and reduce local tension. This can help you to continue with your training programme uninhibited and without worry that tensions are building up to cause you problems later on.
As with all things, prevention is better than cure. Incorporating sports massage in your training program will help maintain your muscles in a healthy condition and allow you to identify and address tensions and imbalances early on, which can go a long way to minimising your chances of injury or chronic condition, improving your performance and prolonging your athletic career.