Massage therapy can help boost athletic performance

Massage therapy can help boost athletic performance

It turns out massage therapy is not just for pampering people.
If you’re looking to get an edge in your athletic performance, or work through a nagging injury, more and more doctors, trainers and coaches are recommending athletes to work with a licensed massage therapist.
Massages don’t have to be just for professional or big-time college athletes, either.
Although a massage from a reputable practioner can run around $30 for a half hour, or more, it can make all the difference in the world in loosening up tight muscles in the back, shoulder, neck, hamstring, etc.
For minor injuries such as muscle pulls, strains and aches, a massage can help you bounce back much quicker. I’d argue it can even help avoid serious injuries in the long term.
How is that possible you might ask? Deep-tissue massage, also referred to as sports massage or Swedish massage, helps loosen up tight or fatigued muscles.
A massage can help release knots you often didn’t even know you had and help get the blood flow going better in the muscles.
Someone who’s been experiencing tight hamstrings or calves, for instance, can get those muscles significantly loosened up during a half hour or hour massage.
With the muscles limbered up, try to stretch soon after and you will likely notice improved flexibility. And there is a huge key to avoiding long-term injuries – better flexibility. People who get massages can generally train more effectively, perform better and recover more quickly.
Although someone may look like they came right out of the pages of a muscle magazine, years of hard training may have compromised their muscle flexibility and elasticity.
A massage therapist can help people better understand which areas of their bodies are the tightest, help relieve some of the tension and get clients focused to areas they need to stretch better. Some people even believe that massage can help faster push toxins and other waste out of the body.
A rigorous brief pre-event sports massage can help someone warm up much better. During the event, a quick massage can offer spot treatment for tightness or cramping that may occur and get the athlete back out on the field, floor or court quicker. A gentle post-workout massage can aid recovery.
Massage therapy is certainly not a cure-all, but speaking from experience it is a great facilitator to help an active person keep their muscles moving better. Massage has helped me personally work through muscle tightness several times during my years and get back to feeling like myself again much quicker.
Most people who get regular massages find a person whose style they like and continue to go back to them. That way the therapist and client build a professional rapport. Massages can be pricey, but are worth it – around $35-50 for a half hour and $60-90 for an hour. In big cities or for highly regarded therapists, it can cost even more.
The massage therapy is not highly regulated so absolutely make sure you go to a professionally licensed massage therapist. Also check with friends for references.
To find a licensed massage therapist in your area, a Website I recommend is the American Massage Therapy Association at www.amtamassage.org.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com

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