Massage Therapy for Sports Injury

By Mike Camunas

Golfers always want to prevent injury, especially in the middle of a round or tournament. Massage therapy, for golfers and other athletes, has become important to use on a regular basis. It can help maintain muscles, such as the shoulders, back and arms, and many golfers have come to believe this type of therapy gives them an extra edge. There are various types of massage therapy; however, sports massage therapy is not one that is usually considered for relaxation. It's about preventing or fixing an injury. Though golfers use it for injuries, it can relax tense and tight muscles.
 

Function

Golfers injure their backs, shoulders and hips more than anything else while playing. Muscles tear during exertion, and then they go into a recovery and rebuilding phase. Massage helps dilate blood vessels and stretches them, allowing nutrients to pass through more freely, helping the athlete heal.

Benefits

Massage therapy helps keep the body in better condition, helps prevent future injuries and helps keep muscles flexible, but still strong. Massage therapy is felt to help boost performance and extend the longevity of an athlete's career, helping him play a sport longer.

Types

There are many different types of massage therapy. Some of the more popular ones are deep tissue massage, aromatherapy, Swedish massage and even reflexology, which involves applying pressure to certain points on the foot that correspond to other parts of the body. Unlike those previously mentioned, massage therapy for sports is one not specifically designed for relaxation or stress reducing. However, it's generally a combination of other massages, such as part Swedish massage, but with faster strokes and with lots of stretching.

Effects

Massage therapy has both physical and mental aspects. Physically, it reduces pain and tension in the muscles, since massage therapists know it releases endorphins in the body. The muscles also relax, becoming loose from the warmth and heat generated from the rubbing. Mentally, it can and probably does reduce stress and anxiety some, helping the athlete stay more focused on her goals.

Misconceptions

It's a misconception that to need massage therapy for a sports injury, or for sports in general, you have to be a professional athlete. Obviously, this is not true. While many out there exercise for their own health and benefit, massage therapy is not just for a boxer or a sprinter. It's for anyone physically exerting herself. You want to be true to your body, treat it like a temple, and massage therapy can be for you, too.

About The Author

Mike Camunas is also reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, covering local golf in the Tampa Bay area, from events to golfers hitting hole in ones, to even covering the professional events that hit town. He has been playing golf for about 11 years and has not seen his handicap lower. Maybe one day, but he'll stick to his day job for now.

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