The Winter Olympics finished earlier this year in Vancouver, and one thing common at the games – besides terrific performances by the world’s best athletes – was massage therapists, and a lot of them. And this prevalence of sports trainers and specialized therapists was not rare to just this year’s Games. Indeed, a study in The British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that 45 percent of the treatment athletes receive at major, international and national, sporting events comes in the form of sports massage therapy.
The reason for this abundance of sports therapy is clear. In the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, an article published in 2008 demonstrated sports therapy’s extensive assistance for athletes, with therapy being credited in reducing levels of swelling while increasing levels of muscle strength after periods of strenuous exercise. In the same study, sports therapy also was shown to decline the amount of energy the body must expend to heal damaged muscle groups.
What does all this average?
It method that the world’s best specialized athletes will continue to use massage therapy at competitions of the highest level, which method that athletes at all levels may want to consider therapy to aid themselves and their teams in training and competitions.
What, specifically, can massage do for athletes?
– It can enhance training, with therapy easing muscle pain and possible injury during strenuous days. Therapy can also keep muscles flexible and healthy during lighter days or periods of training.
– It can enhance performance. Sports massage before competitions can energize muscles and aid in stretching and warm-up exercises. It can also help limit the amount of pain and possible injury after grueling events.
– It can enhance health. Therapy has been proven to enhance the body’s circulation, basic for the removal of metabolic waste, but also important in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Massage therapy has benefits for athletes of all sports. Be it basketball, hockey, lacrosse, swimming, running, bicycling, football, golf, basketball, soccer, tennis or any of the many other athletic pursuits out there, sports therapy can be a great way to ensure the best possible health and condition of athletes, during training and at competitions. There’s a reason why almost half of all specialized therapists practice sports therapy, and why nearly half of all treatment given to athletes at major, international competitions comes in the form of sports therapy. Quite simply: It works.