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The benefits of sports massage for athletes

When one hears the term “massage therapy,” you probably picture the epitome of relaxation in the form of a serene, candle-lit spa room.

However, as recent studies have shown, massages aren’t just for those looking to get pampered.

In fact, massage therapy is actually an effective technique used by coaches to help improve the health of their athletes, whether it’s to reduce pain inflicted by injury or to decrease the amount of time they’ll spend in recovery.

With the La Valette Marathon just less than over two months away, Corsa spoke with sports massage therapist Chris Maggi on the benefits of massage therapy in the build-up to this year’s race.

Why should we massage?

As the saying goes, prevention is the best cure and that is what mainly massage is about.

Massage is the systematic manipulation of the soft tissues of the body that focuses on muscles relevant to the sport. There are many techniques used in sports massage that include Effleurage, Petrissage (kneading), Compression, Trigger point, Cupping, Percussion, Vibration, Friction and Stretching among others.

These techniques are used so to achieve maximum performance and physical conditioning with a decrease chance of injury or pain and a quicker recovery.

Massage therapy is not just a benefit for an athlete but it’s part of its training regime that one induces in its programme.

Here are some of the benefits, both physiologically and psychologically, which have been reported based on experience and observation: increase in joint range of motion (ROM), increase in flexibility, increase in self wellbeing, decreased muscle tension, decrease in muscle spasms, decreased recovery time between training sessions, decreased chance of injury.

When should we massage?

When should someone get a massage? Well if it’s hurting treat it.

You should consider your amount of weekly training, what are you preparing for, how good is your knowledge in stretching, activation exercises and recovery exercises, nutrition and water intake.

At best when you are seeing yourself getting tired and your performance is not improving get a massage as soon as possible, certain athletes get a service once every week, some, every two weeks, some every one month it all depends on the individual’s performance.

I mentioned a service because a massage is not strictly a medical service but a therapy service. The most important massages are before an event.

You get that service no later than 48 hours before the event to give a chance for your body to rest and recover.

And – after an event and not later than 48 hours after

the event is done so you will get all the benefits of a massage while the body is still recovering from the sporting event.

After a massage, a protein-based meal is recommended so muscle fibres, while they are recovering, they will find plenty of protein nutrients.

Drink plenty of water so that any toxins cleared by the flow of the massage are flushed away through the urinary system.

Lastly, get a good night’s sleep and no training for 24 hours so your body gets properly recover.

The second edition of the Intersport La Valette Malta Marathon takes place on February 5, 2023.

The Intersport La Valette Malta Marathon is supported by Visit Malta.

For more details on the race and registration log onto https://corsa.mt or send a whatsapp message on 79979999.

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