Sports massage is being increasingly used as part of the health and fitness regime of many sports enthusiasts. The muscles are subject to wear and tear as well as a range of potential injuries through exercise and massage has both physiological and psychological benefits which make it an essential part of a conditioning program.
Massage – it is right for you?
Massage is ideal for anyone who regularly undertakes strenuous exercise. Whether your favoured sport is running, swimming, dancing, cycling or hiking, not to mention a whole range of racquet sports, you will be able to feel the benefits of a massage after a workout. A massage can also help those who suffer from mental as well as physical strength.
When you first start out on a fitness regime you will find that massage has the advantage of helping you to get fitter much more quickly as it can help with the stiffness and soreness associated with exercise. Massage can help with recovery times after workouts and will help with any condition that can lead to injury. Many people see a relaxing massage something of a treat after a workout.
How does exercise affect the body?
Those who take part in regular exercise will find that it has a number of positive physical results. These include an increase in muscular strength as well as an improvement in endurance levels. The cardiac and respiratory systems will work more efficiently and your whole body will have a greater level of flexibility. Those who combine exercise with a low-fat diet will be able to see a lower body fat percentage and more lean body mass.
The body can improve its functions in response to the challenges which are presented by exercise. The process has been described as a challenge to the physical limits of the body, the period of recovery and building up again to meet the demands of the next exercise session. Recovery is an essential part of the conditioning process.
The challenge to the body is often referred to as ‘tearing down’. This part of the conditioning process can mean stiffness and soreness and this is particularly true for those who are exercising more than they would normally. Some people may experience a delay between exercise and soreness and this can be anything up to 48 hours. This can be caused by muscle or tissue damage, muscle spasms or an excess of waste products from the production of energy.
Some may have stress points which lead to pain when they are touched or pressed. This is not the same as a bruise, but it is actually a small area of spasm. This can be caused by a small trauma such as a fall, but it can also be caused by the repeated use of a certain muscle. It should also be noted that muscles that have been heavily exercised may find it harder to relax; therefore you could find that the muscles are continually tight and have less flexibility. This reduction in flexibility can lead to muscle injury and there is reduced blood flow in the area which can also cause pain.
How massage can help
Massage can help with the most important aspect of an exercise regime – recovery. The body is aided with the recovery from the strenuous exercise and will help the body to rebuild itself. There will be an improvement in blood circulation and also in the lymphatic system as well as general and muscle relaxation. The body can rid itself of waste products much more easily and the cells will benefit from better nutrition. The tissues will have greater elasticity and there will be fewer trigger points. Injuries will heal much more quickly and there will be a reduction in the possibility of future injuries.
Massage can be used to focus on specific muscles depending upon the type of exercise regime that is being followed. Runners may need to focus on their legs while tennis players may benefit from massage for the arms.
Those who are suffering from overtraining will find that they are irritable, apathetic and undergo a change in appetite as well as suffering from more injuries. This is a problem when the body is not able to recover properly from exercise, but opting for massage can help to avoid these side effects of overtraining. It can also help to work on trouble spots which can often be caused by previous injuries. Your Therapist at the Chiswick Massage Centre will be able to monitor these problem areas and help to prevent further injuries in the future.
To find out more and book a treatment, please call us on 020 8166 8958