When we exercise we can slightly tear the muscles as we use them which causes muscular cell generation. This in turn can cause a blockage in the fibres which leads to muscular fatigue and stiff, tight muscles. Massage helps to reduce these effects along with having other performance enhancing benefits.
Promotes recovery and prevents over use
Training is aimed to improve performance by loading and overcompensating the muscles, by gradually increasing physical activity which puts stress on the muscles. After very rigorous exercise microscopic changes start to take place to blood vessels, connective tissue and muscular fibres. This starts a physical adaptation process, which is why it is important to make sure that you allow enough time between training sessions to recover.
To help manage these stresses on our muscles, tendon and ligaments we need give them time to adapt. If we overload the muscles too quickly the microscopic changes can not happen quickly enough to cope, so instead the muscle and soft tissue become irritated and inflamed making the muscles very tight. If this continues often enough (over use) it will cause imbalances in the muscles, which will hinder the athlete’s performance. The most beneficial way to manage this is regular treatments of massage and a rest period.
Massage is also a very important means of helping to improve muscular recovery from fatigue. It aims to increase blood flow, the lymph circulation, waste products and to increase nutrients to the muscle. This assists recovery and speeds up the training adaptions, helping to prevent overuse.
Massage plays an important part in preventing injury by helping to maintain healthy muscles. When a muscle becomes over tight blood vessels are compressed restricting the flow of nutrients and oxygen. This means that muscles are not able to function at their best, increasing the chance of injury and possible muscular tear.
Once a person becomes injured perhaps following an acute injury or trauma they naturally become less mobile, meaning their metabolism and natural healing process slow down. Sports massage stimulates these processes by warming up the muscular tissues, dilating the blood vessels and increasing blood flow, so the capillary walls become more permeable. This allows better transportation of wastes from the affected area, speeding up the repair process.
Massage can also help restore flexibly to muscles and increase the range of motion to the joint. Massage also induces relaxation, separates the muscle fibres adhesion caused from the injury or tight muscles. Once the muscles have relaxed they can then be lengthened and start to become more mobile.