Pro tips for sports massage

Baseball season is in full swing. While most are people relishing in this weather with a grilled hot dog or explaining why the Angels are going to win the World Series, I can’t help but think of the training these athletes go through to get to this point.  Besides the obvious mental preparedness that ‘battle’ requires, the physical dedication is some of the most rigorous around. Rain or shine, these athletes are putting their muscles through the ringer and getting up the next day to do it all over again. I know whenever I go for a good run or take a hot yoga class, all I want to do is cry about my sore muscles the next day! So, besides athleticism and determination, what gets these incredible athletes through that next day soreness?

What many of us feel post day workout has an actual name: DOMS. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, according to the Journal of Athletic Training, is muscle pain and tenderness that develops several hours to a day or so after training. A study was done in 2005 that tested the effects of massage on DOMS without affecting muscle function. They found that massage reduced DOMS by 30% as well as reduced the swelling!

“So, can everyone benefit from sports massage or just super athletes like the MLB stars vying for the World Series?”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, EVERYONE should be exercising. They go on to recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. 30 minutes, 2 days a week should be strength training that employs ALL major muscle groups. That is a lot of sore muscles!

Everyday athletes and casual exercisers alike experience DOMS and can benefit from even a short, post workout rubdown.

“But what kind of massage is a sports massage?”

Sports massage is very similar to deep tissue massage in that they use similar strokes and work towards going deep into the muscles. But, while deep tissue massage works to rid you of toxins and increase circulation, a sports massage targets specific areas in order to help prevent injury.

“When is the most optimal time to get a sports massage?”

A pre-event massage is optimal to help focus on stretching and loosening prior to, say, a marathon or sporting event. Since getting a massage can sometimes leave you a tad tender, we suggest getting one a couple of days prior to said event.  To reduce the effects of DOMS, getting a massage a day or two after will give you the best results.

“In addition to A reduction of DOMS, why else should someone get a sports massage?”

The American Massage Therapy Association has a great write up about this. It includes a list of over 15 benefits of sports massage which include improved range of motion and an improvement on soft tissue function.

“How can I maximize the massage experience in the treatment room?”

Sports massage is cumulative in order to reap full benefits. Health and Fitness Magazine suggest weekly or bi-weekly treatments. In addition to having a regularly scheduled treatment, at-home care between treatments is extremely beneficial as well. Alexandria Professional®’s Injabulo cream uses the benefits of the Carapa and Calotropis plants to combat inflammation, as well as menthol to create an immediate cooling effect. Used regularly at home in between treatments, this combination can help alleviate pain from training. When it is used in the treatment room it can greatly improve the healing of the targeted areas by reducing inflammation.

While I will probably still whine a bit when training for a 5k, I can look at these amazing athletes and know they are feeling the pain as well. Thanks to sports massage, they’re doing something about it!

Have some great tips for alleviating DOMS? Comment below and follow us on facebook for more information on how professional spa services can benefit you!