When patients are physically active they enhance their health but can also be more prone to injury and pain related to physical exertion. Massage therapy has proven to aid in many areas of physical activity including reducing the chances of injury, improved performance and a speedier recovery once injury has been sustained.
Professional and Collegiate Athletes
It is no secret that both professional and collegiate athletes undergo regular massage therapy treatments to aid in their training, performance and recovery from injury. A study performed by Galloway, S.D., Watt, J.M. (2004) looked at the application of treatments being used during major athletic events between 1987 and 1998. During that time, of the treatments and modalities used by onsite physiotherapists, massage was used from 24 to 52.2 percent during major professional athletic events. The overall median percentage of massage was 45.2 percent. The demand for massage therapy as a modality for treatment during athletic events was consistently shown to be the most popular treatment provided by physiotherapists throughout the ten year period. This lead to the recommendation that specialty registered massage therapists be available at all major athletic events to apply treatments. A study performed by Nichols, A.W., Harrigan, R. (2006) regarding inter-collegiate athletes showed that massage therapy was the most popular treatment applied at the collegiate level.
The Benefits of Massage Therapy and Physical Activity
There has been an increase in the number of both collegiate and professional athletic organizations that have Registered Massage Therapists on their payrolls. Both Massage Therapists and Sports Massage Therapists are considered not only a valued member of the team, but a necessary member. Multiple studies have show that massage therapy for athletes as well as physically active people who participate in regular exercise programs from running to organized sports can enjoy the following benefits of massage therapy:
- A reduction in muscle tension and hypertonicity
- Improved soft tissue function and range of motion
- Improved exercise performance as well as a decrease in fatigue, muscle stiffness and serum creatine kinase following exercise
- Decreases in delayed onset muscle soreness and swelling
- Improved recovery of diastolic blood pressure, heart rate variability and transient immunosuppression state following high intensity exercise
- Enhanced athletic performance and reduction and prevention of sports related injury with regular treatment
- Assists in monitoring athletic muscle tone
- Promoting relaxation
Massage therapy can benefit anyone who participates in regular physical activity, helping to keep them at the top of their game and avoid injury.