Whether its running, biking, swimming or sports, athletic activities can challenge our bodies. In fact, that’s why most of us run marathons or play sports… for the physical and mental challenge. More and more athletes, both professional and amateur, are learning about the benefits of massage therapy.
The obvious payback from massage is getting relief for overworked muscles by increasing circulation and relieving pain. Therapeutic massage also stretches muscle fibers, improving flexibility and range of motion. The heart rate and blood pressure is lowered during a massage session, encouraging relaxation and better sleep patterns. Lowered cortisol (stress hormone) levels result in an improved mood and a sense of well-being, which has huge psychological benefits.
Recently, researchers at McMaster University reported that just 10 minutes of massage after an intense workout reduced muscle inflammation and actually caused muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria. Mitochondira, the powerhouses of our cells, are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy. Read the entire article here.
Massage therapy is appropriate both before a competition to prepare the athlete, and afterwards to help with recovery. Many LMTs specialize in sports massage.
To find a licensed massage therapist in your area, you can visit the
The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB)’s Find A Nationally Certified Massage Practitioner database.