With the Olympics going on you might notice a common theme in the background and on the sidelines; massage therapists. As early as the 1980s massage therapists have been in the Olympics, and an important part of it too. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), massage acts to improve performance, reduce pain, prevent injury, encourage focus and shorten recovery time. It basically involves two types of responses: a mechanical response as a result of the pressure and movement and a reflex response where the nerves respond to the stimulation of a massage.
The AMTA states that research shows that in relation to exercise and athletic participation, massage can do the following:
Reduce muscle tension
Help athletes monitor muscle tone
Increase range of motion
Decrease muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise
Enhance athletic performance
Help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly