There’s kind of a big game this weekend. Well, if you’re into football, that is.
Actually, here at MassageBook, we are. And not just because one of our team members is a ridiculously huge (borderline annoying) Denver Broncos fan. (in case you haven’t been paying attention, her Broncos are one of two teams playing in the Super Bowl Feb. 2).
No, the real reason is that we appreciate sports and especially those who challenge their bodies and minds to do unfathomable feats. For some, that’s just getting off the couch and going for a walk. For others, it involves multiple training sessions a day in order to be one of the best in the chosen sport. At either end of the spectrum, we salute the effort.
But for all of these athletes – from pros to weekend warriors – massage therapy has a role to play. And as huge fans of massage therapists (even bigger than football!), we see a match made in heaven.
Athletes need an LMT like peanut butter needs jelly. You can eat the peanut butter by itself, but it tastes a whole lot sweeter (and goes down a whole lot better!) with the jelly.
Some research has shown there is not significant evidence of enhanced athletic performance or reduction in muscle soreness after athletic events because of massage therapy, but the research also shows – and we still believe – there is great psychological and physical benefit for athletes who engage in massage therapy and other stress-reducing activities.
So here’s a quick 5 reasons athletes should – and do – love massage therapy:
- A good athlete needs a quiet mind: You’ve probably heard the cliché “sports is 90 percent mental, 10 percent physical,” and probably disagreed if you just finished a tough workout or game. But any coach will agree that the mental side of a team or individual sport is key to peak performance. So, a therapeutic massage that allows athletes to relax and clear their heads so they can focus more and concentrate better on the mental and physical sides of the sport is ultimately going to be more successful.
- Injury recovery is easier to handle: Even if massage is not healing the muscles, many athletes will agree that chronic pain management aids in their performance or just makes dealing with the pain of recovery a little easier to swallow. Researchers have concluded that the psychological effect of massage therapy does positively impact athletes.
- Relaxed muscles perform better: Massage combined with stretching can be very effective in helping muscles become more flexible, particularly immediately after massage. Warm, flexible muscles are much more desirable for athletes engaging in high-impact, high-energy or high-level sports. And cold, tight muscles generally scream at you.
- “No pain, no gain” is a stupid philosophy: All of us have had an overzealous PE teacher who enjoyed saying that phrase while we were shaking on the pull-up bar, and most of us probably agreed the teacher was a dolt. Despite the popularity of that saying in sports, it’s really not true. Pain is pain and keeps athletes from performing well…and usually just leads to extended pain! Massage therapy can reduce pain, which always makes the opportunity for peak performance greater.
- An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure: We like clichés when they apply, and this one applies. Doing anything to mentally and physically prepare your body to perform is useful for improving and avoiding injury. And where massage helps do that, athletes are increasing their chances for success for staying on the field and out of the training room.
– by Laurie Volkmann