From beginner athletes to elite competitors, massage therapy offers a variety of important health benefits. Professional athletes and their coaches have sworn by massage therapy for years—even keeping massage therapists on the payroll indefinitely. 

A growing body of research supports the health benefits of massage therapy. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage acts to improve performance, reduce pain, prevent injury, encourage focus, and shorten recovery time. It basically involves two types of responses: a mechanical response as a result of the pressure and movement and a reflex response where the nerves respond to the stimulation of a massage. 

Types Of Massage For Athletes

Athletes will benefit more from deep tissue, sports massage Thai, or table Thai massage. They are often fast-paced and involve stretching and other approaches, depending on their sport. They can be tailored as a pre-workout stretch and opportunity to warm up muscles, or used as a post-workout massage to reduce soreness and increase flexibility. 

Massage can do the following:

  • Reduce muscle tension
  • Help monitor muscle tone
  • Promote relaxation
  • Increase range of motion
  • Decrease muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise
  • Enhance athletic performance
  • Help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly

When To Schedule A Massage

Research suggests that a message here and there is nice but doesn’t have the same benefits as a regular massage program. Like exercise itself, the benefits are cumulative, meaning regular massages are more beneficial. Think of it as preventative maintenance. For best results, schedule a massage once a week, if possible, or every other week if training at a high level. If getting a weekly or bi-monthly massage isn’t in the budget, try for at least once a month.

Larrie Rodriguez, B.S. LMT, is the owner of Midtown Massage & Bodywork at 885 S Cooper Street, Memphis, TN 38104. 901-596-3838.