Monthly Archives: May 2016

Athleticism and the Mystery of Massages

weight-lifting-Dunca Daniel-6349588_lMarathoners, weightlifters, and sports enthusiasts alike have often debated the benefits of a massage, in particular post-workout.

According to recent studies presented in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, individuals that received a massage post-exercise did not necessarily benefit in the ways in which many speculate. In fact, lactate build-up in the body is not only a vital element in which commonly causes muscle soreness and failure at the gym or on the track, but it’s massage also considered responsible for muscle recovery – as it’s reduced. This however, is has not been proven to be countered by a post-exercise massage in most cases.

On the other hand, scholars and professionals alike are weary to admit that massages between 2-6 hours post-exercise may very well be beneficial in some ways for athletes. According to Lewis Maharam, MD, president of the New York Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, DOMS, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness, can be treated with a professional, medically-based massage post-exercise.

These findings are both difficult to prove, as well as to demonstrate and depict the differences between various benefits of such post-exercise medical approach or treatment. Since the blood-vessels are believed to play critical roles in both muscle soreness and recovery, the idea of a massage for most, makes sense. However, at the same time adequate scientific research into these findings and hypothesis are limited, and sometimes contradictory in nature.

What many scholars and professionals – as well as athletes – alike believe is that there’s likely a correlation between the placebo effect of a massage, and how this interplays on someone that has sore or damaged muscles from exercise or other athletic activities.

Along with the effects of DOMS, medical researchers and athletes alike have discovered muscle pain in general to be minimized with proper prevention and treatment approaches. In particular, within 24-48 hours of a workout or exercise – when individuals are most susceptible to the effects of DOMS. In such instances, a prior massage seems to have played a positive, preventative role of such.

Some nutritionists and physicians dedicated to sports nutrition and health redirect scholars and interested athletes attention back to the realistic benefits and purpose of pre-workout and post-workout stretching.

Many bodybuilders for example, have claimed that post-workout stretches in particular were especially helpful to minimizing the effects of DOMS both in the short, and long-run. This makes sense, as an individual that stretches before a workout is preparing his or her muscles and improving flexibility or “elasticity”. Secondly, an athlete or bodybuilder that then stretches post-workout is helping to improve blood circulation, muscle elasticity again, and increases the likelihood of a “speedier recovery”.

Unfortunately, many bodybuilders and other athletes alike do not take the values of stretching seriously, and in turn often acquire many undesirable, painful, and time-penalizing side-effects or injury. Because of this, physicians and scientists are trying to reeducate and motivate athletes to take into consideration the scientifically proven values of not only a therapeutic massage, but also stretching, and why it’s important in the long-run – as it can also help to prevent serious injuries from improper form or over-exertion during a workout.

Image credit: Dunca Daniel

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