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Athletes Use Massage Therapy To Improve Performance And Health

Category: Health

Do you consistently work your body so much that it kills you the following days? Your muscles are so sore that it hurts to take a seat or barely move? People overlook the benefits of the tender loving care your body needs, not just by the way you eat or exercise but by the way you take care of your muscles and blood flow. Massage therapy is just for feeling good. It has lots of benefits including better health, improved performance, easier rest, and overall improvements. Athletes work their body the most but don’t realize how getting massages regularly can make them become more versatile players. Receiving a deep tissue massage at least once per week can help maintain muscle health, improve flexibility, and allow more relaxation and a better sleep cycle. It can also improve their performance as an athlete.

There are two reciprocal responses from massage therapy. A mechanical response is the result of pressure and movement to the soft tissues. This has been linked to an enhanced range of motion particularly in the joints, decreased muscle stiffness and increased flexibility. In the article “Does Sports Massage Improve Performance or Recovery” by Elizabeth Quinn, it emphasizes on a study that was done by researchers who had a group of men exercise on stationary bicycles. Biopsies were taken once before the workout, again after they received a ten minute Swedish/Deep tissue massage on one leg, and then again two hours later. The researchers came to the conclusion that the deep tissue massage had actually increased the number of new mitochondria which in fact, improves endurance performance by increasing the rate of blood flow muscles that can utilize oxygen! McMaster University researchers reported, “Deep tissue massage after an intense workout actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria. Mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells, are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy”.

A reflex response is when the nerves respond to the stimulation of a massage and blood flow increases muscle temperature to reduce heart rate and cortisol levels. Massage therapy dilates our blood vessels helping them work more efficiently to promote better circulation, affecting our cardiovascular system in a very valuable way. With encouragement of blood flow to and from the heart, it delivers fresh nutrients and oxygen to tissues promoting the removal of poisons, toxins, or even waste products our body does not need nor wants. These miraculous benefits promote relaxation by activating your parasympathetic nervous system giving an increase in dopamine and serotonin levels to reduce stress, anxiety and tension. In order to reduce muscle tension and improve performance, treat yourself to a therapeutic massage once in a while.

Therapeutic massage is a popular form of technique that many competitive and professional athletes have been using for treating soft tissues aches, injuries, and pains that correlate to recreational activities. Commonly, true benefits of massage therapy are overlooked and people don’t realize that it is not just a form of relaxation but can improve your health. Getting massages on a weekly basis can increase relaxation levels, promote better sleep patterns, alleviate muscle pain, improve circulation, and increase flexibility. Treat yourself to a massage. You’ll be glad you did.


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