Sports massage and stretching: Why they’re a winning combo!
We’d all love to have a sports massage a couple of times a week to work out any muscle tightness and pain. However, this isn’t always practical or possible. A sports massage helps to stretch out tissues in the body but there is another way that can help maintain the tissue length between massage treatments. Stretching has many benefits, including decreased tension in tissues and better circulation. It has been shown that a regular stretching programme is beneficial as it counters the effects of being in one position for a long time and helps to maintain good muscle balance (Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation: A Sport-Specific Approach, 2nd ed., Buschbacher et al., 2009).
Stretching regularly helps with injury prevention by keeping the muscles healthier and improving flexibility in the muscle fibres. It can often be overlooked as an effective way of helping to maintain tissue length but with a daily stretching programme, improvements can be seen. Sometimes it is overlooked as people are not sure what stretches they should be doing on a regular basis. A Sports Massage Therapist or Physiotherapist can prescribe stretches that they think will provide the most benefit to you.
Sports massage can stretch tissues that cannot be reached with just stretching alone but sports massage combined with stretching, that’s a match made in heaven! Used together, they are pretty effective in reducing muscle tension and encouraging the tissues to relax. You can stretch at home, at work or at the gym; it does not need to be done in one set place or at any set time. Stretching should be used between massage treatments to continue the work of the sports massage and thus not allowing the muscle fibres to return to a tightened position. Who doesn’t want improved flexibility and more relaxed muscles!?