Sports massage has been used for thousands of years to improve the performance of athletes. In around 160 AD the Roman physician Claudius Galen, often referred to as the ‘father of sports medicine’, prescribed massage for gladiators before and after fighting.
Today, the popularity and exploitation of sports massage is more ubiquitous than ever. Fully-trained and experienced sports massage therapists play a key role in the training routine of athletes of every sports’ field. The well-established saying “Keep a machine in a good working order and it will serve you well” can certainly be applied to the arena of sports massage and an athlete’s performance. But in what ways exactly can sports massage help you perform better on the sports field?
Sports massage stretches and lengthens muscle fibres
A sports massage is a deep tissue massage which uses firm pressure to release tight layers of tissue and muscle. The massage stretches and lengthens muscle fibres, which cannot be stretched in any other way. By strengthening and lengthening the muscle fibres, sports massage helps reduce muscle tension and make the body feel more relaxed before and after playing sport.
Sports massage improves joint flexibility
Deep tissue sports massage also releases the build-up of tension in muscles. By loosening muscles it improves the flexibility of joints. When it comes to athletic performance, flexibility is paramount. The more flexible an athlete is the more mobile they are. In short, being flexible ensures movement is executed with greater ease and dexterity, essential qualities of all sports men and women.
Use sports massage to prevent injury
Not only can improved joint flexibility enhance performance on the sports field but it also helps reduce the risk of injury under the rationale that a limb can move further before an injury occurs.
Injuries are the bane of athletes, and many sports’ fans, lives. So prevalent are sports injuries in the world of football that fans are now familiar with much of the terminology. Comments such as: “Looks like Rooney’s done his metatarsal there,” have become regular banter on football stadiums around the world.
Sports massage is paramount for helping prevent injury occurring on the sports field. It breaks down scar tissue and adhesion from old traumas and injuries. It produces mechanical pressure which improves blood flow and increases muscle temperature. Being sufficiently warm, a sports massage before playing sport helps reduce the chances of an athlete contracting an injury.
By improving performance on the pitch and preventing injury and aiding recovery, it is hardly surprising many elite athletes consider sports massage an essential component of their training routine.