Friday, November 4, 2011

Does Sports Massage Improve Performance or Recovery

Does therapeutic sports massage improve performance or recovery?

By , Guide
Updated June 27, 2010

Many elite athletes consider sports massage an essential part of their training and recovery routine. Theses athletes report that a sports massage helps them train more effectively, improve performance, prevent injury, and recovery quickly. Historically, competitive and professional athletes have been some of the biggest users of sports massage. Today, a growing number of massage therapists offer therapeutic sports massage and many recreational athletes enjoy sports massage on a regular basis.
What is Therapeutic Sports Massage?
Therapeutic sports massage is a type of massage technique that focuses on treating soft tissue aches, pain and injuries that are associated with recreational activities. Massage can reduce muscle stiffness and improve relaxation by reducing heart rate and blood pressure.
While many athletes are convinced of the physical benefit of massage, research on its effectiveness is currently limited. Massage involves applying mechanical pressure to the soft tissues, and this is believed to result in improved muscle flexibility, increased range of motion in the joints, and decreased muscle stiffness.
The pressure of massage may also improve blood flow during the massage and increase muscle temperature. Massage reduces heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. Most people report a feeling of pure relaxation, reduced anxiety, and improved mood as a result. Athletes may indeed find an edge in these psychological benefits.
On the other hand, very little scientific evidence supports claims that sports massage improves performance and prevents injury. A limited amount of research finds that post-exercise massage reduces the intensity of muscle soreness, but has no effect on the muscle functional loss (weakness, fatigue, decreases in strength, etc.) that often occurs after intense training or competition.
Still, for most athletes, enjoying less muscle pain and stiffness and improving sense of relaxation and well-being is reason enough to enjoy regular massage. And as research continues to study the mind/body connection, we may discover that the psychological benefits of massage do, indeed, improve our physical functioning.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How Often Should I Get A Massage?

By , Guide

How often you should get a massage depends on your needs, your budget and your stress levels. Massage has significanthealth benefits that are best experienced when you get massage regularly.
Typically, once every week or two is ideal for keeping your muscle tissue pliable and in good shape, if you can afford it. If you are in chronic pain or have a special issue to address, you might need to come weekly (or even twice a week) until you feel better.
Once you're feeling good, once a month is probably the minimum for maintaining the health of your tissue. If you start stretching the massages out too far, then your muscles can revert to their old patterns and you'll have to start all over again to restore their suppleness and pliancy. Listen to your body, but don't wait too long in an effort to save money.
Make sure you find a good massage therapist that you feel comfortable with and whose style you like. You might even want to have a few different therapists you can call on. They all have their own styles and specialities. Sometimes your body might need a vigorous deep tissue massage and sometimes something gentler, like craniosacraltherapy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Can Massage Help My Health and Well-Being?

Generally, people use massage for either general relaxation and well-being, or to address a specific complaint, such as pain or limited range of motion. Research suggests massage therapy may contribute to both goals. 
Some of the general benefits of massage therapy may include:
·                             Physical relaxation
·                             Improved circulation, which nourishes cells and improves waste elimination
·                             Relief for tight muscles (knots) and other aches and pains
·                             Release of nerve compression (carpel tunnel, sciatica)
·                             Greater flexibility and range of motion
·                             Enhanced energy and vitality
·                             Some clinical styles may help heal scar tissue as well as tendon, ligament, and muscle tears

What specific conditions can massage therapy help?

Massage therapy may help the body in many ways.  Massage can relax muscle tissue, which may lead to decreased nerve compression, increased joint space, and range of motion. This may lead to reduced pain and improved function. 
Massage therapy may also improve circulation, which enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells and helps remove waste products. These circulatory effects of massage may have great value in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis or edema (an excessive accumulation of fluid in body tissues). 
Massage therapy is also thought to induce a relaxation response, which lowers the heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure; boosts the immune system; and generally decreases the physical effects of stress.
These effects suggest that massage may be helpful for a wide range of conditions.  Some of these are listed below.
**Decreases pain and increasing functioning in these conditions: carpal tunnel, sciatica, tension headaches, whiplash, scoliosis, torticollis, tendon&muscle tears, thoracic outlet syndrome, varicose veins, pregnancy-related back pain and other discomfort, myofascial pain, sore or overused muscles, muscle injury, etc
**Helps treat , manage, and reduce risk of chronic diseases: gout, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, muscular dystrophies, raynaud’s disease, diabetes, hypertension and congestive heart failure, reduces risk of chronic diseases, etc.
**Other psychological emotional, and physical benefits: improved mood, reduced anxiety, lower stress levels, lessening of depression, reduced anger and aggression, improved sleep patterns and decreased sleep disturbance, reduced fatigue, enhances immune system, improves athletic performance and enhances recovery.

Massage Therapy & Insurance

People seek massage therapy for a number of reasons, including relaxation and stress release. Other individuals obtain massage therapy as part of a process of physical therapy. As you consider massage therapy, you need to determine whether your health insurance policy provides coverage for this type of treatment.

The underlying function served by massage therapy is the key consideration as to whether health or medical insurance will cover the treatment. If massage therapy is deemed medically necessary, a typical health insurance policy likely provides at least some coverage for it, according to the University of Minnesota.

A number of factors come into play in determining whether massage therapy is medically necessary. If you suffer an injury that requires physical therapy, massage therapy is considered to be a complementary element of that treatment. Another factor used in determining medical necessity is a consideration of the anticipated benefit of the treatment. For example, merely providing you stress release and relaxation is not likely enough. However, if a demonstration is made that massage therapy hastens recovery, an insurer likely deems it medically necessary.

Preventative Care
An increasing number of health insurance companies, HMOs and PPOs provide coverage for massage therapy prescribed by a physician, according to These carriers permit coverage based on the premise that professional massage therapy is useful in assisting people maintain better health and reduces the overall costs associated with medical care.

Alternative Insurance
In addition to some health insurance policies providing coverage for massage therapy, there are automobile insurance polices that allow for this type of coverage in some cases as well, according to the University of Minnesota. As with health insurance, an automobile insurance policy provides coverage for massage therapy following an accident if the treatment is deemed medically necessary and is prescribed by a physician.

Expert Insight
A consumer must obtain pre-approval from an insurance company before seeking massage therapy. Even if an insurance policy otherwise pays for massage therapy, the failure to obtain pre-approval for that type of treatment oftentimes results in a denial of coverage.

• Massage Craze -- Hands-on Therapy Attracting More Patients
•    University of Minnesota: How Much Does Massage Therapy Cost?
Read more here