Sports massage can achieve a number of different benefits depending on the client’s needs; for example someone with tight muscles may be able to improve flexibility after treatment, someone who is stressed may feel more relaxed and someone suffering signs of fatigue may see improved recovery.
The Physiological Effects of Sports Massage
Utilising natural blood flow, massage can have a significant effect on the micro-circulation through the pressure and movement of the strokes, helping to flush out any muscle waste and stimulate osmosis. This improves recovery, aids metabolic processes and improves tissue health. Massage also improves the flow of the lymphatic system and therefore helps drainage removing waste from the system, and can strengthen the immune system due to the increase in white blood cells.
Sports massage can also have a significant effect on the nervous system through stimulating the sensory receptors and either stimulate or soothe nerves depending on the techniques used. Sports Massage can also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, helping promote relaxation and reduce stress, and can help reduce pain by the release of endorphins.
Due to the effect on the circulation, Sports Massage can improve skin condition due to cell regeneration from the increase in nutrition to the cells. It can help with the removal of waste products through the increased production of sweat and through increased sebum production. Sports Massage can also help improve the skins suppleness and elasticity.
The Physical Effects on the Body
During the body’s healing process there is the formation of scar tissue. This is normally broken down but sometimes (more common with soft tissue injuries), some can remain. Adhesions can form from this scar tissue and this prevents the fibres ability to glide alongside one another which is needed for them to function.
Massage can help restore the range of motion by helping to release the restrictions by breaking down this scar tissue and helping to free the adhesions. It can also reduce inflammation, and reduce muscle tightness, stiffness and spasms.
Massage can help increase joint mobility by reducing the thickening of the connective tissue and help to release the restrictions. It can also help to free adhesions, break down this scar tissue and reduce inflammation, thereby restoring the range of motion.
By increasing blood circulation and oxygen and nutrient supply to the muscle as well as promoting removal of toxins and waste products, Sports Massage can also reduce muscle fatigue and soreness.
The Psychological Effects of Sports Massage
Sports Massage can help to reduce stress and anxiety through relaxing both mind and body, promote positive body awareness, improved body image through relaxation and ease emotional trauma through relaxation.