I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist for 13 years. As a predominately sports massage focused therapist I can not stress the benefits of massage therapy enough. All massage modalities have a positive impact on the client but let’s focus on the athlete. Just think about what you put your body through on a daily basis whether you are simply engaged in a daily workout or training for races.
Muscles work by shortening and there would be no movement without the muscles that are attached to your bones. They work together to create movement and the muscles also have memory, meaning they will eventually remain in this shortened position with repetitive and overuse. Everything we do including sitting and standing requires engagement of muscles. Over time, this creates tight muscle tissue, binding connective tissue called fascia, toxic buildup in the muscles creating trigger points and the list goes on.
If the muscles become too tight they can compress nerves and blood vessels creating pain and constricting blood flow in and out of the area which in turn can prevent toxic waste removal and the inability of oxygen and nutrients responsible for tissue repair to be carried to the site in need. This is where massage therapy comes into play. Massage increases blood flow as well as lymphatic flow. By reducing muscle tension, nutrients are then carried to areas in need for tissue repair as well as the removal of waste build up in the muscle such as lactic and uric acid. Massage is also responsible for stress reduction which is a contributing factor in illness and disease.
There is a long list of massage therapy benefits. For the athlete, it can help with Myofascial Pain Syndrome, reduce sports injuries as well as soft tissue strains and injuries. It can improve muscle tone, reduce soft tissue adhesions, relieve pain, increase flexibility and much more. I encourage you to research the benefits of massage therapy for yourself as there are many for pre-race and post race massage and during regular exercise and training regiments as well.