Sports Massage Information
Why are so many sports and fitness
enthusiasts including regular therapeutic massage as a part
of their conditioning programs? There is a growing awareness
that a complete workout routine includes not only the exercises
itself, but also caring for the wear-and-tear of minor injuries
that naturally occur with strenuous and repetitive movement.
The physiological and psychological benefits of massage make
it an ideal compliment to a total health
Who can benefit from a regular massage?
Anyone who routinely stretches their physical
limits through movement such as running, cycling, hiking,
swimming, dancing, tennis and other racquet sports, strength
training and aerobics. In fact, anyone who uses their bodies
strenuously, or repetitively, in their work will find relief
with therapeutic massage. Basically, anyone who has an excessive
amount of stress, be it physical,
is beneficial when starting a conditioning program because
it helps you get into excellent shape much faster, with less
stiffness and soreness. It helps you recover faster from heavy
workouts and relieves conditions which may cause injury. Massage
can be something to look forward to after a workout - a healthy
What Happens To Your Body When You Exercise?
Regular exercise produces positive physical
results like increased muscular strength
and endurance, more efficient heart and respiratory functioning,
and greater flexibility. Exercise, along with a healthy diet,
also results in less body fat and greater lean body mass.
These are the components of health-related fitness.
These positive physical changes occur as
the body gradually adapts to the greater demands put on it
by regular exercise. The body improves its functioning to
meet the challenges placed on it. Conditioning has been described
as a process of pushing the physical limits (tearing down),
recovery, and the building up to meet the new demands. Recovery
is often overlooked, but is essential for the rebuilding phase,
and to realizing the benefits of a conditioning program.
The "tearing down" phase of the
adaptation process often involves stiffness and soreness,
especially when the amount of movement is significantly increased
from what the body has been use to in the past. Referring
to post-exercise soreness, people often comment about finding
muscles "I didn't even know I had."
Delayed muscle soreness (24-48 hours after
exercise) may be caused by any number of different factors.
Some possible causes are minor muscle or connective tissue
damage, local muscle spasms that reduce blood flow, or a build
up of waste products from energy production.
It is always a very good idea to drink plenty of water before,
during, and after, your workouts. This assists the body to
perform at its peak and eliminate excess toxins, etc. Remember
that our body is composed of over 50 percent water for men,
and 60 percent for women, so drink up!
Trigger points or stress points may also
cause pain when pressed, which may radiate pain to a larger
area. They are not bruises, but rather small areas of spasm.
Trigger points may be caused by sudden trauma (like falling
or being hit), or from repeated use of a particular muscle.
Heavily exercised muscle may also lose their
capacity to relax, causing chronically tight muscles and loss
of flexibility. Lack of flexibility is often linked to muscle
soreness, and predisposes you to injuries, especially muscle
pulls and tears. Blood flow through tight muscles is poor,
which also causes pain.
How Massage Assists Healing the Body
Recovery. Therapeutic massage
helps the body recover from the stress
of strenuous exercise and facilitates the rebuilding phase
of conditioning. The physiological benefits of massage include
improved blood and lymph circulation, muscle relaxation and
general relaxation. These in turn lead to removal of waste
products and better cell nutrition, normalization and greater
elasticity of tissues, deactivation of trigger points and
faster healing of injuries. It all adds up to relief from
soreness and stiffness, better flexibility and less potential
for future injury.
In addition to general recovery, massage
may also focus on specific muscles groups used in sport or
fitness activity. For example, areas of greater stress for
runners and dancers are in the legs, for swimmers in the upper
body, for tennis players in the arms, for golfers in the low
back. These areas are more likely to be tight, loose flexibility
and develop trigger points.
Over training. Adequate recovery is also
a major factor in avoiding the over training syndrome. Over
training is characterized by irritability, apathy, altered
appetite, increased frequency of injury, increased resting
heart rate, and/ or insomnia. It occurs when the body is not
allowed to recover adequately between bouts of heavy exercise.
Therapeutic massage helps
you avoid over training by facilitating recovery through general
relaxation and its other physiological effects.
Trouble Spots. You may also have your
own unique trouble spots, perhaps from past injuries. A massage
therapist can pay special attention to these areas, monitor
them for developing problems and help keep them in good condition.
As you may well know, most professional athletes rely on massage
to keep them in excellent shape. Massage is widely accepted
throughout the world as a key part of training and conditioning
Health Products Disclaimer
©2003 Popular Massage Chairs. All rights