There is no athlete in the world that can survive in the game or after the game without having regular massages. Athletes cannot deny the importance of massage in their life and career. Every athlete has a massage therapist who helps him and his body to get over the fatigue and stress caused by the game or tons of workout. An athlete’s body undergoes a lot of stress and exertion while he prepares for the game. It is an understandable fact that human body has a certain limit, up to which it can bear stress and weight. After that limit, there is a need to keep the body well-trained to make it capable of the upcoming stress and action. Like athletes make a lot of effort to understand the game, rules, and opponents, in the same way, sports massage therapists pay a lot of attention towards an athlete’s body. A therapist has to understand the weak and strong points on an athlete’s body so all the exercises and massages can be designed accordingly.
Preferable massage type for athletes
Among the three basic massage techniques; Acupressure, Swedish massage and the Deep tissue massage, a preferable type of athletes is the deep tissue massage. The deep tissue massage focuses on the three-dimensional web of connective tissues that surround and support all body organs and muscles. It is designed for improvement in flexibility of the muscles and posture of the body. It works on the range of motion as well, which is the most important thing for an athlete. Some therapists also suggest sports massage, which involves a lot of stretching and other approaches. However, it can be customized as per the needs of an athlete.
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On the other hand, it always depends on the kind of sport an athlete is involved in. if the game is more linked to running and kicking, sports massage would be a good choice, but if there is some injury then an athlete would ultimately have to switch to deep tissue massage to help with the healing and recovery.
Responses from massage
There are two kinds of responses that come from an athlete’s body after or during the massage. These responses may not be visible immediately, but their effects start to emerge sooner than you would expect.
Mechanical response – when pressure is exerted on the body in certain range and muscles are massages in certain movement or position, the body gives a mechanical response. It means that you would be able to observe or feel a response with respect to the mechanics of an athlete.
Reflex response – here the nerves respond to the stimulation of a massage. Obviously, nerves are treated during the massage, which means that the tightening of nerves can be relieved and pressure can be removed from them with proper massage.
Benefits of massage for athletes
Coming to the benefits of deep tissue massage for an athlete; there are a number of them so let us start from the physiological effects.
Massage helps an athlete to get rid of all the pains in the body that may come up due to some injury or something like a muscle pull. Some therapists say that massages can help relieve the pain more than any painkiller could do. Massages reduce the inflammation that is the actual cause of pain.
Good blood circulation is the secret to improved performance and better immunity levels. Massages relax the nerves and promote a healthy blood flow. No matter what sport you are into, massage will help you work on the blood circulation to avoid any clotting. Furthermore, it improves the overall health.
Athletes undergo a lot of pressure before the game. they have a lot to worry about; like their performance, opponents’ performance and the audience expectations. To have a good night sleep before the game, it is essential for an athlete to take a deep tissue massage to soothe the nerves and eliminate all the stress from the body. Stress can have a bad impact on the athlete’s performance which is not an affordable choice.
Athletes that have faced injury during the game have the chances of developing scar tissues in their body. Massage will help them to erase the scar issues and move towards a speedy recovery. Deep tissue massage can have an amazing impact on the recovery of an injury.
Lymphatic circulation can also be improved by taking regular massage sessions. The external body of an athlete may be hard looking, but everything is same inside. You cannot neglect the overall health of an athlete if you want to see him giving his best in the game.
Last but not the least; massage can improve the range of motion to a large extent. When the muscles are moved in a certain pattern, their flexibility increases and they can respond well towards difficult situations and scenarios during the game.
Sports are not only dependent on the physical fitness of an athlete, but mental fitness is also essential. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness says that relieving stress and tension out of the mind has a lot to do in the performance of an athlete. Dopamine and serotonin levels are directly linked to the increased stress levels. With a massage, you can decrease the stress; leading to controlled levels of dopamine and serotonin.
Frequency of massage
Massage session must be a regular thing for athletes. However, they are most important before and after the game. Before the game, massage is needed to prepare the body for all the action and after the game, to relax the muscles and relieve all the pressure off them.
A spa session can also be added to the post-event massage to soothe the muscles and relax the nerves. Pre-event massages are soft, however; post-event massages are harsh and rigid.