By Michelle Fletcher, B.A.
It seems alternative and mainstream publications alike are praising the benefits of massage therapy. From those overcoming chemotherapy to colicky newborns, millions are reaping the many benefits of this ancient and practiced art form.
Professional athletes are among the largest groups who participate in regular massage therapy treatments. Whether a weekend warrior or marathon runner, at some point, most athletes will suffer a sports-related injury at some point in their lives. Sports injuries are not only painful, but if not cared for properly can also result in long-term, serious problems.
“The desire to stay physically fit has increased the intensity of our workouts over the years,” says Whitney Lowe, Nationally Certified massage therapist and expert in sports massage. “However, failure to train properly can hinder performance and put you at risk for serious injury. Sports massage can help prevent and relieve injuries common to athletes, as well as enhances performance.”
In a recent article printed in Massage Today, older adults are basking in the spotlight of massage’s benefits. John Louis, Certified Massage Therapist remarks that our bodies begin to deteriorate after the age of 30. “It is widely believed that we begin to lose approximately 1 percent of our organ function per year at this age, ” Louis said. “We also begin to lose muscle mass, and tissue starts to become less elastic. The heart muscle becomes less able to propel large quantities of blood quickly to the body. We tire more quickly and take longer to recover. Consequently, we injure more easily and heal more slowly – all of which significantly affect the athlete.”
Luckily, massage therapy provides an answer to this inevitable dilemma. Regular massage therapy can play an active role in combating these negative issues. Louis treated famous older athletes from Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon to world-class triathlete David Roadhouse. The latter is 62 years old, holds the 2005 and 2006 world titles for his age group, and actively receives regular massage therapy treatments. “I can’t say enough about how massage therapy has helped my program in the last three years; specifically, it has helped prevent injury and helped to minimize injuries I’ve had,” David said in the article. “Massage therapy will always be an important part of my program.”
Therapists recommend older athletes seek massage therapy weekly, for at least 45 minutes. These treatments aid in muscle elasticity, blood flow, tension, and overall health – improving your athletic performance and enjoyment of everyday life.
Lowe, Whitney. “Benefits of Sports Massage.” Harris Interactive. Nov 2002: http://www.athletegift.com/news/2002nov.htm
Louis, John. “Massage Therapy for Older Athletes.” Massage Today. 7(5) May 2007.