The Fitness Zone
For those who saw the Marathon which wrapped up the Rio Olympic events yesterday, would have been in awe watching Kenyan athlete, Elidu Kipchonge, complete the 42km race in a whooping 2:08:44. Needless to say Elidu, along with many other athletes will be resting their well worked bodies post games and most probably receiving some sort of massage therapy, so we beg the question, how does massage benefit those who exercise?
Mark Davis, fitness expert and Physiotherapist shares FIVE key benefits of massage, and gives an insight into why a lot of our athletes receive regular massages, and why you should too!
#1 Massage Relieves Those Unavoidable DOMS
Completing an ironman event, similar to running a marathon, is a gruelling event that takes a decent amount of time to fully recover from. In study of 74 triathletes, who complained of sore legs after an event, found that massage was effective at reducing their pain and the feelings of fatigue. The researchers suggested that the athletes’ enhanced feeling of well-being may have been contributed to by the release of feel-good hormones called beta-endorphins as a result of the massage.
#2 Massage Can Aid Mental Health
YES you read correctly! In 2015 there was a study by Zadkhosh and co-workers, which investigated the effects of ten massage sessions on measures of stress, anxiety and depression in youth wrestlers. They found that the group that received massage, had better mental health outcomes across all measures, and, recommended massage as a complement to their training to improve performance. Stress management is an important part of maintaining good health for everyone, not just Olympic athletes, furthermore, with the stress of representing your country on our athletes shoulders, we can see why massage is a big component of training for Olympians.
#3 Massage Improves Physical Performance
When current Master Trainer student, and three-time Olympian, Libby Trickett shared that when competing at the Olympics she was receiving a massage at least once per day, besides DOMS and relieving stress, we wondered if massage helped performance for athletes?
In a 2014 study that investigated the effect of massage at improving hamstring tightness in a group of 89 college students, Forman and colleagues found that deep tissue massage improved hamstring length within just three minutes. When this type of massage is combined with a targeted exercise program a client will improve the way that they look, the way they feel and the way they perform more quickly.
Massage helps to address restricted tissue while targeted stretching, strength and control work can ensure that the benefits of improved posture and improved performance are maintained.
#4 Massage Can Help With Your Injuries
We know recent or old injuries can impact exercise due to an imbalance in muscles and, more commonly due to muscle tissue stiffness.The great news is, massage can quickly relax tight muscles, HOORAY!
By getting regular massage’, your body will breakdown what we call restrictive fascia tissue, this is the soft tissue that gives you that stiff feeling. This process is made even more effective when combined with exercise and can contribute to you moving better sooner!
#5 Massage Can Boosts Your Immunity
YES, you read correct! It turns out that massage, like exercise, boosts immunity too! A study was performed in 2014 that found massage stimulated beneficial immune responses in white blood cells, these are the cells that aid healing and building your immunity. So massage isn’t just great for your muscles, but your overall health as well.
To learn more about the benefits of massage and what effects it can have on your body, both physically and mentally, why not study to become a Remedial Massage Therapists!