5 Reasons Why Non-Athletes Should Get Sports Massage Therapy

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By Marc Innes

joggerAthletes know how beneficial sports massage therapy is for their training. Like nutrition, recovery contributes greatly to an athlete’s performance. Sports massages improve flexibility and mobility, and help prevent injury.

Despite what its name implies, sports massage therapy is beneficial for anyone. Because sports massages emphasize injury prevention and aid recovery, anyone who is physically active can experience its benefits. This can be someone who takes a CrossFit class, or a regular gym goer.

But what about non-athletes? Sports massages can also benefit sedentary individuals who find themselves stuck behind a desk for work. Sports massage therapy can address posture problems that occur due to prolonged sitting.

Unlike traditional massages, sports massage therapy targets specific muscle groups. A sports massage therapist will use a combination of massage techniques to target the affected muscle group to promote healing and recovery.

If you have yet to experience the benefits of a sports massage, here are five compelling reasons to give sports massage therapy a try.

Reason 1: It prevents injury.

One of the main reasons to get a sports massage is to prevent injuries. Even if you don’t participate in active exercise, your body can be prone to injury.

Ergonomically incorrect workstations are one of the leading causes of office injuries. A workstation that is awkwardly set up can contribute to neck and back pain. Repetitive tasks typically involved in office work can irritate tendons and result in severe physical injury.

Regular sports massages can reduce muscle fatigue brought on by these repetitive movements.

They can effectively treat soft tissue injuries such as neck and back pain. Sports massage can also address tendon overuse by breaking the scar tissue, improving blood flow and increasing elasticity.

Reason 2: It reduces stress.

Prolonged desk work contributes to psychological issues as well. Stress is more present in our daily lives, negatively affecting our mental health. Chronic stress can disrupt natural body processes.

This can increase the risk of other health problems such as depression, anxiety, and heart disease.

Because sports massage therapy can be used to trigger specific muscle groups, it can be used to relieve tension and decrease stress. A sports massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation. A relaxed mental state improves workplace productivity.

Reason 3: It increases flexibility and range of motion.

The increased sedentary lifestyle many people lead today is resulting in more people experiencing stiff and tight muscles. Increased muscle tightness limits flexibility and range of motion.

Decreased range of motion can prevent normal functions and increase the risk of muscle injury. This becomes even more problematic as we grow older since the loss of flexibility is part of the normal aging process.

Sports massage therapy is a preventative treatment for reducing restriction and increasing muscle elasticity. Sports massage modalities can manipulate muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other affected areas to initiate movement.

These modalities will have a tremendous effect on the body, increasing tissue elasticity and flexibility.

Reason 4: It provides chronic pain relief.

People who suffer from chronic pain conditions (back pain) or chronic disorders such as fibromyalgia know that there is no cure for such conditions.

While there is no cure for chronic pain, sports massage therapy can be used to alleviate pain and help chronic pain patients get back to normal functions. In conjunction with regular exercise, sports massage therapy can provide pain relief benefits.

Treatment provided by sports massage therapy decreases inflammation and reduces stress and anxiety. This is particularly helpful for specific chronic disorders like fibromyalgia or arthritis knee pain.

stressedwomanReason 5: It alleviates chronic tension headaches.

Tension headaches can severely interfere with your daily life. Chronic tension headaches can limit productivity in the workplace and affect other areas of your life. Since tension headaches are a common form of head pain, treatment usually involves pharmaceutical drugs.

Sports massage therapy provides the same relief as its pharmaceutical counterpart, without the side effects. Regular sessions of sports massage therapy can relieve muscle tension and postural alignment issues. Both are contributing factors of tension headaches.

By focusing on trigger points, sports massage therapy can eliminate pain sensations associated with tension headaches. It also addresses chronic neuromuscular stimulation, a symptom of tension headaches.

Enhance your daily life with sports massage therapy

While sports massage therapy is traditionally geared towards athletes, non-athletes can also benefit. Even if you have limited physical activity, the therapeutic techniques found in sports massage therapy can address numerous physiological and psychological issues.

If the majority of your day involves long hours of sitting or standing, a professional sports massage therapist can get your body back to performing at optimal levels.

– Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. He spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.

The Basics Of Thai Massage

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healthillustratedThai massage dates about to about 2,500 years ago and its roots aren’t actually Thai at all. It has its roots in the ancient Indian teachings of yoga and Ayurveda, with influence from Chinese medicine. This form of healing came to Thailand along with Buddhism and is today an important element in traditional Thai medicine. In Thailand, Thai massage is a recognized part of the medical tradition and is taught at the university level as part of the regular medical-school curriculum.

The foundation of Thai massage is the concept of invisible energy lines, or Prana Nadis, that run throughout the body. It is these invisible energy lines that supply the body with necessary energy. When there are disturbances in the flow of this energy, it is then that we feel unwell or experience things like lethargy and pain.

During a Thai massage session, ten energy mainlines are massaged through acupressure, with the goal of breaking down the blockages in the energy flow. When these blockages are removed, the body is restored to its optimal energy flow and a feeling of well-being is restored.

There are two main procedures used during Thai massage. The first is the application of gentle pressure with the hands and feet along the body’s energy lines. Second, the therapist will assist the client through a series of yoga-like postures and stretches which are designed to help re-align the body’s energies.

How does Thai massage differ from traditional massage? Thai massage focuses more on re-aligning the body’s energies through manual manipulation, whereas traditional massage focuses on simply relaxing the body through therapeutic touch.

The principal benefits of Thai massage include:

Stimulation of internal organs

Rebalancing of the body’s energy system

Relief of muscle and joint pain

Adjustments to and realignment of the skeletal position

Increased flexibility

Thai massage is generally safe for most people, but it should be avoid by those with certain medical conditions. Anyone with a back or neck injury or a woman who is pregnant should not undertake Thai massage therapy. This is because it can be a little too strenuous for people in those conditions and they could risk serious injury.

For those who do opt to try Thai massage, there are many benefits. If you have tried other methods of pain relief or medications or supplements and are not getting any relief from your pain and feelings of poor health, Thai massage may be a good option for you. Even if you have tried other methods of massage and yoga to treat your conditions and help with your overall health, it might be worth your while to try Thai massage in Calgary. Find a Thai massage therapist near you and make an appointment. At your initial consultation you will simply answer questions about your symptoms and your therapist will work with you to devise a treatment plan for you.

– Submitted by Kashif Raza

Benefits Of Massage

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By Dr. Kathy Gruver

massageMassage has been around for centuries; in fact it is believed that evidence of massage was discovered in hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt. We know massage feels good, but what else does it do for us?

Massage loosens tight muscles by stretching out muscle fibers, bringing blood to the area, flushing out toxins and eliminating trigger points. Trigger points are tight bands of muscle that refer pain in a specific pattern. For example you may have a trigger point under your shoulder blade that is actually referring pain up into your neck. Eliminate the point eliminate the pain. Massage is also great for improving circulation and reducing swelling in the limbs (great for the elderly). Lymph drainage massage is a specific modality that works by flushing the lymph out of the limbs, back to the lymph nodes found in the armpits, groin and neck. There are times you don’t want to move lymph however and that is when cancer is involved. There is a chance of spreading it further through the body. Check with your oncologist to see if massage would be safe for you.

Massage can improve flexibility and help with athletic performance. Massage is also a great post-exercise addition as it gets the toxins out that may have built up during the sport. It can also help with muscle cramping and helps reduce scar tissue thus freeing up movement.

Massage calms and invokes what is known as the relaxation response. This is in opposition to the stress response; that fight or flight reaction. Massage releases feel good hormones in the brain like oxytocin. Oxytocin is what mothers produce during labor, it makes us feel good and kind and loving towards others. And massage calms the entire system. Massage has been shown to lower blood pressure and slow heart and respiratory rates. We are seeing more and more research being done on the benefits of a good rub down. The findings include reduced depression and anxiety, better heart health, improved health for pre-term infants and better sleep.

applevectorThough massage is proving to be a valuable addition to your life there are a few things that it doesn’t do. Massage is not going to help you lose weight or reduce cellulite. It could act as a temporary fix by flushing the toxins out of the area, but ultimately the cellulite will return. Sorry. Also, massage does not give you the flu. I’ve had a few clients tell me they don’t want deep tissue because they don’t want to get sick. I can’t say they didn’t have the flu. I can say that the massage DIDN’T give it to them. What they were experiencing was a healing crisis or herxheimer reaction. This occurs when toxins are mobilized too fast and they settle back in the body rather than being eliminated. Though uncomfortable, a healing crisis is perfectly normal and can be avoided by drinking lots of water after your massage, stretching, taking it easy and some people take a pain reliever like Advil.

Here are some tips for better enjoyment of your massage.

– When you go for your massage communicate openly with the therapist about what your expectations are and if you have any injuries or recent surgeries that they should be aware of. If you are uncomfortable during the massage, especially if something is hurting, please tell the therapist. You must communicate this to them for your own safety and enjoyment.

– Most therapists will have you fully disrobe, however there are some modalities that don’t require that like shiatsu, Thai massage and Reiki. Check with the practitioner for guidance.

– For general relaxation choose a modality like Swedish, which is the basic, light touch massage. Deep tissue and trigger point are better for pain, increasing range of motion, athletes and people who want more intense work done. Be careful of hot stone massage. If you are going to have that done, make sure the person is well trained as an inexperience therapist can hurt you.

– Find a qualified practitioner for what you need. Regulations for licensing vary from state to state, sometimes city to city. Ask how long they’ve been practicing and be picky. Be careful of some of the new shopping center massage chains, as often their therapists are fresh out of school and not very experienced. This might be fine for a general relaxing massage, but if you have an injury or health concern, they might not have the experience to help you.

– And get regular massages, they not only feel good, they are good for you!

Kathy Gruver, PhD has been involved in massage and natural health for over two decades. She has produced the DVD, Therapeutic Massage at Home; Learn to Rub People the RIGHT Way and has written multiple books on the subject of health.