Benefits of Sports Massage

My town of residence, Reno, Nevada, was recently named the 2nd fittest city in the nation! Congratulations, Reno! 

With the arrival of spring in Reno/Tahoe comes training for athletic events, such as marathons, cycling events, and triathlons. Sports massage is an important part of an overall wellness routine designed specifically for athletes.    

Sports massage improves athletic performance, reduces pain due to overuse, prevents injury, and shortens recovery time. You may not realize it, but massage therapy affects the cardiovascular system. It dilates blood vessels, which helps them work more efficiently to promote circulation to the muscles and connective tissue. The assistance of encouraging blood flow back to the heart enhances blood flow, which delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and promotes the removal of waste products that build up in the muscles, such as lactic acid.

This increased and enhanced blood flow helps to relieve muscle tension, reduce soreness, and shortens recovery time. Then, the relaxed muscles experience an increase in range of motion and flexibility. Both of these benefits lead to enhanced athletic performance.

If you are an athlete looking for a qualified sports massage therapist, be sure to look for a licensed massage therapist with the designation, "LMT" after their name and their license number posted on any marketing materials. The best way to find a qualified therapist is to ask others who participate in your sporting activity. Word-of-mouth recommendations are typically the best referrals. 

Used as a preventative measure or to address pain and assist in recovery, sports massage is an essential weapon in your training arsenal. Massage therapy has the added bonus of helping you feel relaxed and feel physically and psychologically better, benefits that even the non-athlete enjoys. 

Darcy Blaine, LMT (NVMT# 7593)          

A Hug A Day Keeps Infection Away

A recent article from Dr. Mercola speaks to the value of hugging to avoid infection. As a massage therapist, I immediately related getting more hugs to the value of getting more massage! 

A quote from Dr. Mercola's article: 

"It’s been shown that people who are under stress and in conflict with others are more susceptible to viruses like the common cold. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University set out to determine whether social support, as gauged by hugging, might in turn be protective against such infections. It turns out their hypothesis was right. Among 404 adults, those who had greater social support and more frequent hugs during conflicts were less likely to “catch” a cold after they were exposed to the virus. The hugs, researchers said, were responsible for about one-third of the protective effect."

According to the study:

This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress…

The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy… Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.”

What are the benefits of a 10-second hug per day?

Hugging increases the levels of the bonding hormone, oxytocin. Elevated levels of oxytocin in the body have been proven to have beneficial effects on heart health and the immune system. Studies have shown that hugging lowers blood pressure and reduces the harmful physical effects of stress, including its impact on your blood pressure and heart rate. Research suggests there’s even more to it than that.

As reported by Mail Online: 

The skin contains a network of tiny, egg-shaped pressure centers called Pacinian corpuscles that can sense touch and which are in contact with the brain through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve winds its way through the body and is connected to a number of organs, including the heart. It is also connected to oxytocin receptors. One theory is that stimulation of the vagus triggers an increase in oxytocin, which in turn leads to the cascade of health benefits.”

Later in his article, Dr. Mercola goes on to say that that alternatives to hugs such as massage therapy have similar value. He states that a hug must last at least 10 seconds to have the maximum benefit. Massage therapy sessions last a lot longer than that! 

Add a weekly, biweekly, or monthly massage to your daily hugs and we will all be on our way to superior health!   

See the full article here.

Darcy Blaine, LMT
(NVMT# 7593)