Sport Massage Learn here and Exercise
There have been many studies that have examined the effects of massage therapy on athletes. A majority of these studies have yielded inconsistent results. One study that compared professional athletes with controls found no significant difference in muscle soreness among the groups. Another study that examined professional athletes against controls showed a significant improvement in muscle pain for athletes who had massage. However there was no significant improvement in the condition of athletes who did not receive massage. Another study that compared active athletes and non-athletes produced similar results to the previous studies.
There aren't any definitive studies that show that massage actually enhances athletic performance, but several studies show that it might aid in reducing recovery time for athletes. In one study, researchers discovered that sports massage decreased the recovery time of athletes participating in a high-intensity exercise program. Another study found that athletes who had to follow a maximum workload regimen had significantly better results than those who received Sports massage. In yet another study therapists who performed sports massage demonstrated a significant improvement in the physical performance of overweight adolescent women.
A study that examined the production of lactic acids in injured and control groups found no difference. However, researchers concluded that the effect of massage could depend on the person that it is being administered to. Researchers found that lactic acid were released at a greater rate in the group that was not being massaged than during exercise, and remained fairly low after the massage. On the other hand the production of lactic acid was observed to be higher in injured group during exercise, and was higher following the exercise. One possible explanation for this finding is the increased production of lactic acid could decrease the threshold for pain in injured patients and result in a greater sense of exertion during exercise.
There are many theories on how sport massage could improve the performance of athletes. The physiologists have suggested that a full stretch of the muscles in the deep of the legs is the reason for athletes' quicker recuperation from injuries. This theory also suggests that athletes may gain strength in their shoulders and arms by stretching the superficial muscles. A different theory is that muscles that are shorter and tighter in the lower part of the body can speed up the time to recover for athletes who participate in high-intensity sports during competition. And a strong abdominal core helps prevent cramps and spasms that happen to athletes during intense exercise.
Massage therapy can aid athletes improve their flexibility and strength. Stretching muscles can make them more flexible and more willing to move and train. However when athletes continue to exercise the muscles will eventually get tighter and restrict their movement. To alleviate muscle pain, athletes should perform exercises to stretch tight muscles. Massage therapy can aid in this.
Research has shown that during times of intense exercise or high intensity that athletes experience an increase in the release of cortisol, a hormone that is a sign of physical stress. And studies show that this increased release of cortisol leads to greater muscular strength and endurance performance during periods of moderate intensity exercise. In the study endurance performance was assessed before and after athletes performed 30 sprints. During sprints, muscle twitch activity was recorded and the results showed an increase in muscle strength after the sprints.
The presence of muscle glycogen in muscles increases muscle strength. Glycogen is a source of energy found in muscles during vigorous exercising. When the body of an athlete goes through a period of intense physical exertion, it releases large amounts of glycogen to replenish the energy lost during sprints. Researchers from the University of Northumbria published a study that found that short sprints prior to competitive cycling led to a significant increase of glycogen levels in muscle.
The findings of these studies indicate that massage therapy for sports can be beneficial to athletes during and after intense exercise. But, it is important to remember that all of these studies have been conducted on healthy, non-athletes. Before you start any treatment, speak with your doctor if you have conditions that affect circulation, such as kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other condition.