Massage School and Sports Rehab: The Connection


sports therapy and rehabilitation
Massage therapy helps reduce pain and boost athletic performance.

Did you know that massage therapy is one of the most effective techniques for injury rehabilitation, expediting healing and recovery, and preventing re-injury? If you are interested in pursuing a career in physical therapy or sports rehab and working with athletes, attending massage school to learn about deep tissue massage can give you a competitive edge in your career.

“As skilled massage therapists . . . we can identify and treat trouble spots before they progress into an injury,” says certified massage therapist John G. Louis in an interview in Massage Today. “I’ve concluded that receiving regular therapeutic massage is one of the most important things an athlete can do for themselves. It’s absolutely necessary for helping to optimize performance, preventing injury, reducing competition anxiety, and achieving career longevity.”

Whether suffering from a twisted knee, a sprained ankle, muscle spasms, or even a broken bone, an athlete is motivated by a desire to heal as quickly as possible, rebuild his or her body stronger than it was before, and avoid injuries down the road. Massage therapy delivers on all three counts: shortening recovery times, helping the body rebuild, and reducing the risk of future injuries.

Shortens Recovery Times

Massage improves circulation, boosting blood and lymph flow, which helps to break down adhesions, flush out swelling in joints, and nourish the muscle tissues for quicker healing.

Rebuilds Stronger Muscles

By increasing circulation, massage expedites the delivery of oxygen and important nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur to the muscles, helping them to repair, rebuild, and become stronger.

Improves Muscle Flexibility and Range of Motion, Lowering the Risk of Re-Injury Athletes are susceptible to over-training syndrome – training hard and failing to give the body sufficient rest time in which to rebuild – which can cause muscle rigidity and lead to increased risk of injury. Massage relaxes the muscles, improves flexibility and range of motion, and has a sedative effect on the nervous system, which not only aids in shortening recovery time and gives muscles the much-needed break they need to rebuild, but also makes future injuries less likely.

Helps Reduce Pain, Boost Performance

Overworked muscles can cause pain and limit performance. By increasing blood and lymph flow, massage reduces pain caused by spasms and cramps. Less pain makes an athlete better able to push him or herself to the limit.

Provides Important Psychological Benefits

Sports performance isn’t just physical, but mental as well. Massage not only relaxes the body, but it also relaxes the mind, allowing for greater focus, giving any athlete a competitive advantage.

“I did rehabilitation/recovery work in the Polyclinic at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London,” says massage therapist Laura Stevenson-Flom. “To the athletes (and coaches/trainers) that I met with and worked on massage was not considered a luxury, but a scheduled, necessary part of their daily training, competition, and recovery.” If you are interested in working with athletes in physical therapy or sports rehab, adding massage therapy skills to your repertoire will help you serve your clients better and give your career a boost.

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