Saturday, June 7, 2008

Massage and Recovery in Sports

It is no secret that people feel better after a massage but not everyone realizes the benefits of massage for sports recovery and
injury healing. Massage loosens up tight muscles which in turn helps circulation because tight muscles will constrict the blood
vessels diminishing the blood flow which provides nutrients, healing cells and warmth for optimum muscle contraction. This is why every pro bike team employs a soigneur for their athletes. The soigneur takes care of the massage and nutrition for the cyclists and they select balms before and after competition to keep the muscles warm and loose. Many sports medicine clinics including my own employ a sports massage therapist.

It has been said that the calf is the bodies second heart and it is no surprise that the calf can cramp up during athletics particularly when the temperature is cold or hydration is inadequate . The calf muscle needs such an extensive network of blood vessels because of the demands we place on it in sports as well as every day activity. When there is inadequate blood flow the
muscles can cramp and individuals with peripheral arterial disease may even develop life threatening clots in the legs.

If you have trouble getting to a professional massage therapist which is the best option there is information in books and the internet on self massage. Stretching, especially the achilles tendon is often done in conjunction with massage.

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