I can see you smiling now just thinking of that satisfied feeling at the end of a massage with all the worries of the world and the aches and pains of a long week gone. Whether it’s a caring shoulder rub after a hard day at work or a therapeutic sports massage before a big game, the results are almost always positive.
Have you ever wondered why massage is so beneficial to the body and mind? I have and my “research” on the benefits of sports massage continues to this very day. In other words, I receive massages on a regular basis. As a physical therapist and athletic trainer who works with elite athletes, I almost always incorporate some type of massage therapy into my athlete’s rehabilitation protocols.
Think of the different types of massages you’ve received. Have you ever been given a massage that was so rough that it made you feel sore and achy for days? Or maybe you’ve been the recipient of a massage that so light and easy that you found it to be a waste of time? I have been through both of these scenarios and it taught me a very valuable lesson.
In order to optimize the benefits and positive results of my sports medicine massage, I suggest that you clearly determine the objectives of your massage beforehand.
Determine the objectives of your massage
Here are the four simple questions you and your massage therapist need to answer before your treatment.
- What areas of my body am I interested in treating?
- What are my symptoms and limitations in these areas?
- What is my desired outcome of this massage and how do I want it to improve my symptoms?
- What types of massage techniques will be used and what can I expect to feel during this massage?
Identifying the answers to these questions will help get you and your health care professional to be on the same page and significantly enhance the positive results of your massage.
Types of Massage
Here are some of the most popular types of massage used in the field of sports medicine:
- Sports Massage
- Swedish Massage
- Deep Friction Massage
- Trigger Point Therapy
- Neuromuscular Therapy
- Hot Stone Massage
Benefits of Massage
Massage has been around for thousands of years and has become an important healing tool in many cultures for good reason.
The benefits of massage and its ability to heal various ailments are well documented. Human touch is a natural healer. It offers support and conveys compassion as it soothes away aching muscles, eases pain and relieves stress. In fact, medical experts estimate that up to 90% percent of all disease is stress-related, regardless of your age.
Healers from all around the world have created and applied countless types of therapeutic techniques utilizing touch. Today, modern medicine has scientifically proven and continues to support the many benefits of massage, which include but are not limited to:
- Increased muscle and join flexibility immune system
- Improved immune system
- Reduced emotional stress
- Relaxing muscular and spine tension
- Improved circulation
- Increased endorphin production to reduce pain
- Enhancing a general sense of well-being
- Decreased blood pressure
- Reduced depression and anxiety
The Happy Ending?
Massage therapy does more than just relax your body and mind. It can actually affect your physiological (body chemistry) and psychological (mind related) state of being.
By utilizing massage therapy in both your injury prevention and rehabilitation plans, you’ll get the best “happy ending” by accelerating your return to being active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle!