Most sports injuries can benefit from massage, the treatment is recognised by doctors and physios alike. While it’s often used as a means of recovery from a sports injury, did you know that it can also be useful to prevent injuries in the first place?
Mark McGroarty, a movement scientist from the Human Centred Movement clinic – an injury and pain prevention clinic, advocates the use of massage.
The wonders of massage
“Strenuous exercise can lead to shorter, tighter muscles as they lose the ability to relax,” he explains. “Regular massage however can keep them loose, improve their flexibility and their range of motion.”
Massage also improves circulation to the whole body, dilating the veins, improving the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and reducing blood pressure. It also improves the general elasticity of the muscles, giving them greater connectivity.
What’s more, it reduces the recovery time necessary in between training sessions and it helps to rehydrate the muscles. With regular sports massage you can see an improvement in your performance and you lessen your chances of injury.
Decreases chance of injury
“In general you’re less likely to be injured in the first place if you’re getting regular preventative sports massages,” says Mark. Injuries which involve a break, or a torn ligament need to recover by themselves, but any injury which involves muscle strain or tightness can benefit from massage.
The most common causes of injury include overuse of muscles, muscle tightness and muscle weakness. However muscles are less likely to become injured when the blood flow to the area is improved through massage and the muscles are elongated and stretched.
Mark not only encourages massage when preventing or recovering from a sports injury, but advocates the use of self-massage for both preventative and healing measures. It’s a practice that he teaches at his clinic.
Simple compression and relaxation techniques applied in the right manner on someone’s own body, can both protect from injury and speed up the healing process.
“It makes sense,” says Mark. “Why pay someone huge amounts of money to practice massage when you can learn to do it on your own body?” This is possible in many cases and it allows the person to work on the recovery area themselves in their own time.”
It’s highly effective, because no one knows their own body like the person themselves. “Learning how to do self-massage should be part and parcel of every athlete’s routine,” he says. “And once you learn to do it, you have the skills for life.”
People of all ages can benefit
It’s not just athletes however who are his clients. Mark has children as young as five years old and one lady who is 82 years old.
“Massage and self-massage are beneficial to older people because they have difficulty doing simple movements like getting themselves out of bed and getting in and out of a chair,” he says.
“Or if they fall for example, they need to be able to move themselves safely from a lying position on the ground to standing. We can help with that by improving the health of their muscles,” he adds.
“Anyone of any age can benefit from keeping their muscle tissue healthy and especially if they are moving about a lot.”
For more information visit: humancentredmovement.ie
With Irish Life Health’s new BeneFit Plan, you can claim €50 back on sports massage. Find out more here http://www.irishlifehealth.ie/benefit-plan-get-250-back-on-healthy-benefits/