If you have an active lifestyle then there’s no doubt you’ll feel aches and pains over time. When you do, it makes sense to think about getting a massage. But what type of massage is best for sports? That’s what we’re here to find out. Let’s get started!
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What are the Best Massages for Sports
Engaging in sports has always been seen as a healthy means of recreation. Sport not only helps the body stay active and fit but engaging regularly in sports also improves mental health. However, it is an undeniable fact that sports strain the body.
The more intense the effort you put into sports, the higher the likelihood of fatigue or injuries resulting from muscular stress and strain. There are several methods in order to help improve recovery from such injuries.
There are also methods that can help prevent the occurrence of these injuries in the first place. The most common practice in order to help recover from or prevent injuries is through massages.
There are different kinds of massages, each with its own benefits. Tailored mainly for sports is the well-known sports massage. There are also different kinds of sports massages depending on when the sports massage is done.
In addition to sports massages, there are also other kinds of massages that can help reduce strain on the body and help improve body condition for athletes. Below are the five best massages for athletes and other people who regularly enjoy sports.
The first massage we’ll discuss is the sports massage. A sports massage is a type of massage which aims to prevent injuries, reduce strain, and improve athlete performance during sports.
There are three main types of sports massage: pre-event sports massage, post-event sports massage, and maintenance sports massage. Sports massages may also be catered to specific sports, with some sports massages targeting certain areas which are used for their respective sports.
Unlike most of the other massages on this list, a sports massage is actually quite strenuous. This is because the main purpose of a sports massage is to improve the body condition of athletes rather than for relaxation.
By stretching tight muscles, flexibility is improved, resulting in a wider range of motion. The conditions of the connective tissues are also improved, making injuries less likely to result from sports activities.
Additionally, endurance is also improved, since the muscles are able to perform for longer periods without fatigue. Overall, sports massage can help improve athlete performance, while also preventing injuries.
Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage is a type of massage where pressure is applied using slow, deep strokes, allowing the pressure to penetrate the outer layers and reach the connective tissues of the body. Similar to a sports massage, the purpose of a deep tissue massage is not relaxation.
Rather, a deep tissue massage helps relieve body pain. For certain athletes, a deep tissue massage can help relieve pain from injuries sustained from sports. For instance, an athlete may experience back pain from bad posture during certain activities. A deep tissue massage will help reduce and remove back pain.
Whether it be plantar fasciitis sustained from running activities or other types of injuries, deep tissue massages can soothe the muscles involved, effectively reducing pain.
In addition to removing pain, deep tissue massages are also known to reduce stress, which can help improve the performance of athletes. Removing body pain can help raise serotonin levels, which reduces stress.
Swedish massage is a common type of massage. Since Swedish massage helps people relax, it is enjoyed by both athletes and non-athletes alike. Clothes are removed during the massage, which allows direct contact between the massage therapist and the patient.
The massage therapist starts by applying massage oil or lotion to the skin of the patient in order to reduce friction during the massage, allowing for longer strokes. Different techniques, such as stroking and kneading, are utilized by Swedish massage in order to provide relaxation to the patient.
For athletes, Swedish massage can help the body relax, reducing stress and improving performance in the long run.
Tight muscles are also loosened during the massage, which helps relieve body pain. Swedish massage can also improve posture and flexibility, which can help prevent injuries from certain activities, such as running.
Additionally, serotonin and dopamine levels are improved by massage, which can help reduce stress. This helps improve the quality of sleep, allowing for the muscles to rest better during downtime from sports.
Heavily derived from Chinese traditional medicine is the Shiatsu massage. Unlike Swedish massage, Shiatsu massage is done through loose clothing. Shiatsu massage focuses on a person’s vital energy, the Qi, and improving its flow throughout the body.
The massage therapist targets vital points using different massaging techniques, such as kneading and tapping. Stretching and rotation are also integrated into the massage, helping reduce muscle stiffness and fatigue.
Shiatsu massage mainly helps the body relax, but can also help promote a wider range of motion by improving flexibility.
Low back, neck, and joint pain are also reduced by Shiatsu massage, further improving motion. Since Shiatsu massage helps one relax, it effectively lowers stress in athletes, thus improving performance.
Active Release Techniques
Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) is a type of soft tissue method which uses a combination of varying pressure intensities to relieve muscle pain. Sports often involve the repetitive use of specific muscles.
This repetitive use results in the tissues developing fibrosis, which can cause weakness and numbing, resulting in an overall decrease in performance.
ART mainly helps with problems related to the muscle and connective tissues in the body. By applying different levels of pressure to the affected muscles, muscle adhesion is relieved, helping athletes regain motion in certain muscles. Entrapped nerves are also released, helping relieve pain.
Overall, there are different kinds of massages for people who engage in sports. These massages can have different effects, ranging from performance enhancement to pain relief.
It is best to be able to understand the principles behind each massage in order to properly decide which is the best massage for you.
Since massages mainly cater to problems regarding the muscles and connective tissue, it is best to consult a physiotherapist prior to receiving any of the aforementioned massages.