Sports Massage Therapy
Sports massage entails manipulation of the muscles and soft tissues using techniques designed to meet the particular needs of the athlete. Advocates of sports massage therapy claim it does the following to help athletes:
- Improves blood circulation.
- Promotes removal of lactic acid, a byproduct of strenuous exercise.
- Increases lymphatic drainage.
- Repairs damaged muscle.
- Decreases muscle discomfort and stiffness.
- Improves flexibility and range of motion.
- Decreases blood pressure.
- Releases endorphins and serotonin, thus enhancing mood.
- Relieves stress.
Massage therapy can have a few temporary side effects such as discomfort, swelling, and bruising of the tissues manipulated and an allergic reaction to the oils and lotions used by the therapist. Furthermore, massage therapy should not be performed on areas affected by recent surgery, over broken bones, sprains, bruises, blood clots, tumors, open sores, and skin infections. Vigorous massages should be avoided over bones affected by osteoporosis and in individuals with blood disorders. Pregnant women should seek the approval of their physician prior to using massage therapy.
Considerations Before Getting a Sports Massage
- A trained and experienced massage therapist can increase the effectiveness and safety of the massage. Look for credentials such as: Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Licensed Massage Practitioner (LMP), and Certified Massage Therapist (CMT).
- Massage therapy should not replace medical care, but be used to compliment it.
- Seek the advice of your health care provider if you have a health condition or concerns about the appropriateness of massage therapy for you.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine