Massage therapy and exercise

Massage therapy and exercise

We often think of a massage therapy as an unnecessary indulgence; however, in the athletic world, it can be quite the opposite. It can:

  • speed up the healing process from injury and the break down scar tissue from past injuries
  • improve range of motion and muscle flexibility, resulting in improved power and performance
  • maximize the supply of nutrients and oxygen through increased blood flow and thereby increasing cell function
  • reduce the chance of injury, through proper stretching, pre-event massage and deep tissue massage
  • enhance elimination of lactic acid build up (a by product of exercise which causes muscle soreness)

The most common types of treatments performed on runners and other athletes include Swedish massage, cross-fibre massage, deep tissue massage, and trigger point therapy. Swedish massage decreases tension and increases relaxation and circulation. Cross-fibre massage breaks down the mesh type scar tissue that forms at the site of an injury for example a strained hamstring. Deep tissue massage is used for large muscles that are hypertonic (tense). Common muscles are hamstrings, quadriceps, upper trapezius, and gluteus muscles.

Massage can help both before an event and after an event. Pre-event massage supplements an athlete’s warm-up to enhance circulation and reduce excess muscle and mental tension prior to competition. It also improves tissue pliability, readying the athlete for top performance. This massage should be performed approximately five to seven days prior to the event so that it doesn’t interfere with the muscle’s ability to perform at the event. This should never be done the day before the event as it could result in the muscles not be able to fire correctly and a decrease in muscle strength. Post-event massage is geared toward reducing the muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with vigorous exercise. Many sports massage techniques enhance the body’s own recovery process, improving the athlete’s return to training and competition, and reducing the risk of injury.

If you want to reach optimal performance through injury-free training, consider a massage maintenance program. On average, monthly treatments are recommended. But, whether you are a weekend warrior, an athlete, or someone trying to get in shape, you can benefit from any of the massage techniques mentioned above.