Athletes: Three Reasons You Need a Massage
Massage was very popular with the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Babylonians, including Olympian athletes, but it was largely forgotten by Western civilization until the end of the Middle Ages. In 1813, a Swedish man by the name of Per Henrik Ling decided that exercise -- or gymnastics, as he called it -- and massage, were imperative to good health. He opened the first athlete training for gymnastics and massage center school. Over two-hundred years later, modern medical science has continued to show the benefits of both. Here is a look at three ways Swedish massage is particularly useful for athletes.
Heavy exercise can make muscles tighten up. A massage will help release that tension by increasing circulation, making you less prone to injury. A Swedish massage will also bring to your attention any areas on your body that feel like they are in less than optimal condition. This will make you aware of any limitations you need to be on the lookout for and allow you to adjust your performance accordingly. A massage will also reveal any trigger point areas, where one muscle directly affects another.
In addition to helping to prevent injuries, increased circulation is also important to an athlete for other important reasons. With increased circulation, breathing is facilitated, which increases the blood oxygen level. Whether an athlete needs controlled breathing for power lifting weights or running a marathon, increased circulation plays a key part in respiratory function.
Also, heavy training causes microscopic muscle tears, which must be continuously repaired. This damage requires increased blood flow to heal, which massage accomplishes. Additionally, a massage aids the lymphatic system, a part of the circulatory system, in doing its job, which is to transport infection-fighting lymph fluid throughout the body.
Many athletes have a driven personality. They are constantly pushing themselves to be the best they can be, which can be stressful. Massage releases feel-good endorphins, which can help athletes relax before the big event they've been training hard for. It will also aid in more restful sleep. Additionally, it will help you know the state of your muscle tone. A massage can also increase your overall confidence as you feel the power of your muscles as they are massaged, knowing your body is a well-conditioned machine, built to win.
A deep-tissue massage three to five days before a physically demanding event will ensure your muscles are moving freely with their maximum range of motion. A pre-event massage just a day or two before will get you relaxed, your muscles warmed up, and your circulation flowing. A post-event massage will help your muscle begin to repair.
If you have any questions about others ways massage might benefit you, consider speaking to a local professional, such as Elements Massage Pearland, for more information.