When you hear the word “Massage”, what comes to your mind? You probably define it as a physical pressure by an expert masseur to relieve stress and pains. Yes, it’s true! But do you know massage has been used extensively to improve sports performance as well as in rehabilitation? Yes! In fact, many health care professionals use massage as a therapeutic tool to treat sport-related injuries and improve the performance of athletes.
What is Massage?
Massage is a combination of several techniques to manipulate body tissues with rhythmic pressure and stroking for the enhancement of general health and well-being.
Sports massage has been used particularly as a form of bodywork for athletes to:
- Help prepare the body for athletic activities
- Help prevent injuries
- Maintain the body in optimal condition
- Help recover from workouts and injuries
The massage techniques commonly used to enhance sports performance and provide rehabilitation includes:
- Vibration massage
However, the athlete’s sport choice is the major determinant of the appropriate massage technique to be used. So, the massage focuses on areas of the body that are stressed from repetitive and aggressive movements.
The Role of Massage in Sports Performance
Athletes and coaches are now modifying their training strategies to have an edge over their competitors. Common among those strategies include the use of modalities such as electrical stimulation, thermal agents, and massage. However, massage treatments are now used more often to boost sports performance.
There are many ways in which massage helps to boost sports performance. In fact, many investigations have shown that massage helps to increase the range of motion of various joints.
Effect on Flexibility
Almost all athlete and coaches believe that sports performance can be boosted when there is increased flexibility. Besides, an athlete is believed to have a decreased risk of sports injury with an increase in flexibility. This claim may be debatable but massage has been studied to be effective in ensuring an increased range of motion and flexibility.
A study conducted on field hockey female players from Western Australia’s Premier League showed that massage made a significant short term change in hamstring flexibility. Participants were able to meet the study’s inclusion criteria of experiencing a stretching sensation around the posterior thigh after a straight leg raise (SLR) at an angle less than 700.
Effect of massage on strength
One study investigated the effect of massage on the power grip performance of healthy adults after maximal exercise. The result showed that a massage intervention caused a significant increase in post-exercise grip performance as compared to a non-massage intervention. In fact, the most relevant part of the study is that massage intervention was more effective than the natural recovery of the control group.
Another study was conducted to determine the effect of massage on female collegiate athletes at the beginning of the volleyball and basketball season. Different massage techniques including the petrissage, effleurage, and vibration techniques were employed in this study. In the end, the result showed that massage intervention led to a significant increase of shuttle run times and a significant decrease in the perceived soreness of athletes.
The role of massage in Rehabilitation
Massage has also been found to be effective in rehabilitation. As a matter of fact, many athletes are now employing this treatment when recovering from sports injuries. Most times both the classical massage treatment and deep transverse friction massage (DTFM) are used to by doctors to ensure speedy rehabilitation.
A study tested the effectiveness of massage in the treatment of a 19-year old female middle-distance runner suffering from sport-related chronic knee pain. This message was done after many conservative treatments proved abortive. The massage therapy was done using the effleurage strokes and the results showed complete rehabilitation as the boy was able to return to running and complete an entire season.
Another study on seven athletes suffering from chronic exertional compartment syndrome (CECS) showed that massage helped these athletes regain their athletic efficiency.
Massage has been used extensively by many sports teams and athletic centers today to help athletes boost their athletic performance and recovery from sports injuries. You can consult a massage therapist today to help you stay fit before and after your sports activity.
You can Choose Massage today!