Blogs > Simply Fit

Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sports Massage Therapy

Elite and recreational athletes alike are turning to sports massage therapy to aid in recovery from strenuous workouts and improve exercise performance. Although massage therapy has been practiced for thousands of years in cultures around the world, it wasn't until the mid-1800's that its use became widespread in the United States.  Since that time, massage therapy has gone in and out of popularity with the American public.  There are many different types of massage therapy, of which sports massage is one.

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.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence supporting or refuting the effectiveness of massage therapy in general is limited. However, they acknowledge that for certain subsets of individuals it may be effective by resulting in decreased anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, pain (especially in the back and neck), and enhanced mood states.  They also note that when massage therapy is performed by a trained, professional therapist, it is relatively safe.

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.
Source for More Information
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home