From beginner athletes to elite professionals, massage therapy has shown to have major benefits regardless of the participant’s fitness level. Athletes seeking enhanced performance, improved conditioning, faster recovery, injury prevention and assistance in maintaining peak fitness can benefit from massage therapy.
Massage has been shown to have myriad positive effects including:
- – Reducing muscle tension
- – Helps athletes monitor muscle tone
- – Promoting relaxation
- – Increasing range of motion
- – Improving soft tissue function
- – Decreasing muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise
- – Improving exercise performance
- – Decreasing delayed onset muscle soreness
- – Reducing swelling
- – Reducing breathing pattern disorders
- – Enhancing athletic performance
- – Helping prevent injuries
By combining your exercise routine with massage therapy, you will be able to train longer and harder and make the most of your workout. Not convinced? Research some of your favorite world-class athletes, and you’re likely to see that a massage therapist is a key component in their regimen to maintain strength, stamina and overall healthy muscles.
A growing body of evidence shows that massage therapy can be effective for a variety of health conditions. Massage is rapidly becoming recognized as an important part of health and wellness, and research is indicating some of what takes place in the body during massage therapy.
Here are some recent findings on the benefits of massage therapy for health and medical reasons, compiled by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).
Massage Therapy for Pain of Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Research supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) showed that sixty minute sessions of Swedish massage once a week for those with osteoarthritis of the knee significantly reduced their pain. Each massage therapy session followed a specific massage protocol. This is the latest published research study indicating the benefits of massage therapy for those with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Massage Therapy for Inflammation after Exercise
Research through the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario indicates that massage therapy reduces inflammation of skeletal muscle acutely damaged through exercise. The study provides evidence for the benefits of massage therapy for those with musculoskeletal injuries and potentially for those with inflammatory disease, according to the lead author of the research.
Massage Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain
Research released in July 2011 expanded on previous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of massage therapy for chronic low back pain. Researchers found that “patients receiving massage were twice as likely as those receiving usual care to report significant improvements in both their pain and function”. The study was conducted over 10 weeks through Group Health Research Institute.
Massage Therapy for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome characterized by generalized pain, joint rigidity, intense fatigue, sleep alterations, headache, spastic colon, craniomandibular dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. A study published in 2011 demonstrated that massage myofascial release techniques improved pain and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia.