Whether you are a professional, student, amateur, weekend warrior, or just want to improve your health massage can help. From dancers, football players, soccer, and volley ball players to swimmers, golfers, climbers, and gymnasts. Massage can help reduce injury, improve performance, improve your spirit, and overall assist your health. Don’t forget that musicians are the most overlooked athletes. Stage performance is very physically demanding.
Yes, massage can even help uncle Fred playing badminton in the backyard.
Massage itself is like going to the gym. It moves fluids works tissues and generally makes you healthier. The results may include improved circulation, better tissue health, improved muscle tone, faster injury recovery, reduced stress, and normalized body functions. Like at the gym you should get plenty of fluids with a massage. Depending on the massage and your goals you may be a little sore the next day (the healthier you are and more you get a massage or go to the gym the less likely this will be)
NOTE: Massage does not work alone it is recommended to complement other care and training.
Massage and Sports
Massage and how it relates to athletic activities can take several forms. You can get massages as needed or wanted, or as a part of a training program where you have massages on a schedule each with a different function. Including:
- pre-event (Day before prep and same day warm up)
- Post-event (cool down, and next day recovery)
- injury recovery (injury prevention is included in the other functions)
- An athlete can spend hours training, but often neglect many areas of there self care
- Massage can start by simply keeping spirits up
- It also assists the training by flushing the muscles getting waste materials out of the muscles and other tissues
- Once the waste is out nutrients can flow in and the reconstruction and performance enhancement can begin.
- With a grueling workout schedule you are taxing and traumatizing your muscles. Sometimes this will cause stress which causes things such as trigger points, adhesions, spasming, overly tight muscles, and other issues that massage can help relieve.
Caution must be taken to allow the massage to actually help your performance. Just as the day before the big event, we may take it a little easy on the day of the event. We will warm up the tissues, increase the heart rate and blood flow.
Throughout the event we can help you stay warm will less effort on your part.
Following the event we can assist in the cool down process.
This is NOT the day to push new limits, overly stretch or fully break up tissue supporting muscles and joints.
When you train you cause micro tears and can become sore following a workout. Massage can help your body recover. To assist in the recovery, especially after a big event or injury, you may want a less intense massage.
Since massage helps normalize body functions and improve performance, it can improve healing and even help prevent injuries. Depending on the injury you may need to rest allowing the body to start the process. You can start fairly quickly by using massage to improve circulation removing waste and bringing in nutrients. Later, through deeper massage, retrain the muscles so they function properly.
Remember, massage is not a substitute for regular medical care and immediately following an injury you should remember use common sense, and if appropriate RICE the affected area. (Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate)
As we have already stated, massage can normalize body functions, improve circulation, and properly educate muscles.
With the body functioning properly, and the muscles getting more nutrients and clearing waste, performance improves.
Then there is the proof of experience and studies that show those that get massage perform better.
(See also Swimmers & Gymnasts)
I have worked with many dancers, each with individual issues, from back, to legs, to feet. I even spent a whole session on one’s calfs. I worked with the “Original Riverdance Troupe” helping them warm up and work out issues.
Do not wait till its too late. Abigail Raminsky said she felt a searing pain on the left side of her lower back. “The sensation was deep and familiar and momentarily took a firm grip on my whole being. Haven’t got time for the pain: I continued to dance, and, after the audition, hobbled home and iced the area around my sacroiliac joint….a frequent source of pain for dancers…. I popped some Aleve as I had been doing since I was a 13-year-old gymnast.” She had pains before but this time it turned her life upside down. It turns out she ended up having two herniated disks. At that point not much helped. She had to rest completely, and much damage was permanent causing her to stop dancing and ending her career.
“Across all age groups, approximately 75 percent of musicians suffer from injuries related to playing their musical instruments. Injuries that sideline musicians” [Dance, Music profs reduce pain of performance by Susan Griffith Campus News Case University 4-18-2002]
Golf & Tennis
Simple bodywork otherwise known as massage can alleviate many issues of golf and tennis players. We all know about golfers elbow and tennis elbow, but there are so many more ways massage can benefit the player. Money is spent on every thing else a massage every so often makes it all worth while.
Football players are visibly abusive to there body. As they run into each other with large bulky bodies. Massage almost becomes a necessity. Massage also becomes very difficult due to there bulk. There are layers upon layers of muscle and tissue that must be worked through.
Swimmers, Gymnasts, and Wrestlers
Experience has shown that competitive swimmers as dancers and gymnasts get chronic pain. Coaches are constantly telling them to work and perform through it. They are told here take these pain pills. The pain is there for a reason. It is telling you something is wrong. This is a perfect time to get a massage. Use the massage to assist the healing not mask the problem.
I have regularly worked with Basketball, Football, and Volleyball players as well as swimmers wrestlers, and gymnasts at Tulane, Loyola, other schools, as well as professional and amateur players.
These are some of the healthiest people I know. I work on them and almost never find any problems. Why? At least part is because they take care of themselves. Heck even without problems they still come get massages.