Regular massage supports the relaxation and recovery process after workouts, helping to prevent injuries; reduce swelling, muscle stiffness and fatigue; and achieve peak performance. And there are numerous other potential benefits that are conducive to your overall health and well-being. Massage therapy helps to improve muscle flexibility (which helps prevent injuries like muscle pulls and tears) and shorten recovery time as well as relieve muscle tension and pain, a remedy for common issues like delayed-onset muscle soreness. But massage can benefit more than muscles. Tammy Taylor, massage/bodywork team leader and a certified neuromuscular therapist at LifeBridge Health & Fitness, says some research suggests that massage may also help:
- Lower anxiety Increase range of motion
- Improve your mood
- Lower blood pressure
- Enhance blood flow and alertness
Massage is good for the body either before, during or after athletic events. Sports massage incorporates Swedish (for improved circulation) and deep tissue techniques, among others. Athletes, or anyone who does strenuous exercises on a regular basis, should speak with a massage therapist about specific needs and concerns in order to determine how often massages are necessary and which techniques are most appropriate.
“Your injury or needs will determine the focus of the therapy,” Taylor says. “Often times, an athlete has a specific area in which they are experiencing pain, limited range of motion, etc. That area, in addition to the supporting muscles and connective tissue, is addressed.”
Taylor adds: “A full body massage at another time, maybe within a week or two, is also very helpful for the whole body compensates for an injury, and an injury heals more quickly when the rest of the body is free of limitations.”