The athlete has a primary goal in mind when he is in training for a competition, and that is to perform at maximum potential. How can massage possibly enhance and increase that powerful result? Massage increases circulation to quicken the removal of fatigue toxins, and hastens recovery and repair of the tissue, reducing the likelihood of muscle strains, cramps, overuse, and overload injuries. Being pain free with stretch massage, in particular, can give the athlete a cutting edge in restoring mobility and range of motion.
Muscles are layered upon one another and move in different directions. When functioning properly, they glide easily over one another. As the physical demands of heating up the muscles in hard training continue to build and release lactic acid and other metabolic wastes, a spasm or contraction can occur, and the muscles stick together. This too can occur with forceful movement or excessive muscle loading.
Athletes in training tend to place their attention on contracting a muscle, but if it remains in a shortened position for too long it will become dysfunctional. Massage application can significantly increase the elongation and natural elasticity of that tissue. It is equally important for the muscle’s proper function to maintain that muscle length.
Movement of the body occurs at the joints. Although tendons and muscles are different, they are considered as one unit, and tendons are treated as an extension of the muscle, attaching it to the bone. How a certain exercise affects the body will determine the combination of techniques which can benefit the athlete in increasing their range of motion.
There is a big difference between a strong muscle and a tight one. A tight muscle is actually weak and inefficient in protecting a joint because it does not respond as quickly on command and cannot move fast enough to avoid trauma and injury to that area. In its limitations, it will recruit other muscles to do the work when in fact the integrity of keeping that joint’s strength relies on the elongation and stretch ability of the surrounding muscles. Maintaining strength as opposed to tightness will increase the athlete’s performance, especially by decreasing susceptibility to injury.
Different sports require specific muscles to do the work. Knowing this, the therapist keeps in mind the prescribed techniques to produce the proper effect. Many techniques are available to increase circulation, prevent muscle tendon injury, recover normalization and repair of tissues, increase range of motion, and relieve muscle spasms and soreness. Therefore, massage is a vital tool for keeping athletes in top performance and can even lengthen their careers. See you at the top!
Debbie Wassylenko LMT, NCBTMB
Nationally licensed Massage Therapist
Freedom of Movement Therapeutic Massage
480-821-1631 or 480-262-6254 (Cell)
About your therapist:
Nationally certified, Debbie Wassylenko, is an extremely skilled Therapeutic Massage Therapist with 18 years of experience. Some of her specialty modalities include Repetitive Use Injury Technique, Myofascial Release, Lymphatic Drainage, and Cranial Sacral techniques.