The ultimate impact of sports massage therapy is to increase the health of the body’s internal tissues by improving circulation of blood and nutrients, while simultaneously removing toxins.
Long stroking movements are used to move fluid through the circulatory system. How this works is interesting. As pressure increases in front of the masseur’s stroke, suction is created behind the stroke. This helps repair damaged muscles by increasing a fresh blood and oxygen supply and removing toxins that have built up in the tissue. Deep massages help to regulate the pores in the fibrous tissues, which increases permeability. This allows for more fluids and nutrients to flow through the tissue. Waste products are removed and new oxygen and nutrients are supplied.
Massage therapy increases muscle relaxation levels. Many lifters exhibit that hard driving type-A personality where relaxing is difficult. In those situations stress can get the better of the lifter. With regular massage, a lifter can learn to relax body and mind and perhaps improve his performances.
By having a deep tissue massage as often as possible, lifters can keep their muscles healthy, improve their flexibility. It is worth considering if you are having problems recovering from workouts. Massage therapy can also help to identify potential trouble spots before they progress into something more serious. A skilled touch may reveal those soft tissue micro-injuries. So, treat yourself to a massage and your body and your performance may thank you for it.
Massage therapy can improve flexibility. For a lifter to achieve optimal performance, he or she must exhibit a high degree of flexibility. Since massage therapy stretches the muscle fibers, flexibility is promoted and maintained. High volume or intensity training cycles and competition usually lead to increased muscle tension. The effects here may include disturbances of collagen scar tissue and development of various adhesions where the muscle, fascia, and other tissues stubbornly stick together. If this happens you will experience a reduction in overall flexibility and an increased chance of injury.
It should also be remembered that all muscles even when they do become overly tight, do not become so to the same extent all over the body. Tightness in one muscle group may not be balanced off by a similar degree of tightness in the opposing muscles. If not attended to, this can cause a permanent imbalance in the muscles. We see the best example of this occurring with bench pressers. They have well developed pecs that are often in a permanently tight condition. The opposing muscles in their back are not always as well developed or as highly maintained. The result is the bench presser’s hunched-over posture, familiar to anyone who has spent time in an elite power gym.