There are many benefits to sports massage therapy — just ask Kyle Beckerman, captain of the ReAL Salt Lake Major League Soccer team. The midfielder and regular on the U.S. National Team, who in 2009 became the youngest player in Major League Soccer history to appear in 200 games, swears by massage as part of his training regime. He also happens to be one of many satisfied Matrix Spa & Massage clients.
Athletes of every level who play all kinds of sports use sports massage. The sports massage techniques are tailored to the client’s particular sport, as different sports stress different areas of the body and different muscle groups from repetitive and often strenuous movements. Sports massage can be used in various ways, from preparation before playing the sport, during the event to maximize performance, or afterwards as a means of reducing recovery time and preventing injury. There are many benefits to sports massage, including but not limited to enhancing flexibility, preventing or reducing fatigue, improving endurance, and preparing the body and mind for optimal achievement. The sports massage techniques are also used to speed up healing time when an athlete has injured or strained a muscle.
4 Athletes Who Use Sports Massage
Sports massage is used by many professional athletes, one of whom is Kobe Bryant, basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant has won five NBA championships with the Lakers, has been named to the All-Star Team fifteen times, often leads the league in scoring, and is the youngest player ever to reach 30,000 points. Much of his success can be attributed to his meticulous training regime, which includes regular massages, both during and in between games. He actually persuaded the Lakers to hire his longtime physical therapist, Judy Seto, so he could receive treatment at all hours of the day.
Many world-class athletes use sports massage to stay at the top of their game. Michael Phelps is arguably the best swimmer in the world, having won twenty- two Olympic medals in his three appearances at the Summer Olympics, making him the most decorated Olympian of all time. Perhaps his practice of getting two massages a day during the height of his training, which he reportedly did during the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, has something to do with his success as a swimmer.
Another Olympic swimmer, Dara Torres, had two massage therapists on standby during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, just in case her regular masseuse was somehow unavailable. It is hard to question the training practices of a woman who has won twelve Olympic medals (four gold, four silver, and four bronze), is one of three women with the most Olympic medals in swimming, and has won medals in all of the five Olympic Games in which she has competed.
Kerri Walsh-Jennings is yet another Olympic athlete who uses massage to her benefit. Walsh-Jennings, along with teammate Misty May-Treanor, has won gold in beach volleyball in three consecutive Summer Olympic Games, in 2004, 2008, and 2012. She once said, “I am a big believer in massage to help get circulation to injured areas.” Whatever it is she is doing, it seems to be working.