Research findings from American Massage Therapy Association (AMTAMassage.org)
Sports massage can be used to improve athletic performance, speed recovery, and can be utilized by all individuals who participate in any athletic and/or exercise program to help improve conditioning and maintain peak performance. Many professional and collegiate athletic programs employ or contract with massage therapists, and sports massage has been sought for many years by athletes of differing backgrounds for multiple reasons.With the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines being very clear that activity is essential for people to be healthy, sports massage can be recommended to those individuals who participate in exercise programs as well as professional and collegiate athletes.
Research has shown that in relation to exercise and athletic participation massage can:
- Reduce muscle tension
- Help athletes monitor muscle tone
- Promote relaxation
- Reduce muscle hypertonicity
- Increase range of motion
- Improve soft tissue function
- Support recovery from the transient immunosuppression state
- Support the recovery of heart rate variability and diastolic blood pressure after high-intensity exercise.
- Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise
- Improve exercise performance
- Decrease delayed onset muscle soreness
- Be the most efficient intervention for maintaining maximal performance time in subsequent exercise tests when combined with active recovery from maximal exercise
- Reduce serum creatine kinase post exercise
- Reduce swelling
- Reduce breathing pattern disorders
- Enhance athletic performance
- May help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly
Individuals who participate in exercise and athletic programs who seek enhanced performance, improved conditioning, faster recovery, injury prevention, and assistance in maintaining peek fitness can benefit from massage therapy given by professional massage therapists working within their scope of practice.
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