Most coaches and trainers recommend massage therapy to their athletes, but many physicians are still skeptical about its health benefits. Several recent studies show that deep massage helps to make muscle injuries heal faster (1), improve training in athletes (2) and relieves painful pressure points in muscles and tendons (3).
Researchers at Ball State University show that vigorous deep instrument-assisted massage done 21 to 29 days after severe tendon injury hastens healing (1). Massage therapy can also help athletes to train better (2). Athletes train by taking a hard workout that makes their muscles sore and then taking easier workouts until the soreness disappears. A 30-minute massage 2 hours after a hard workout lessens next-day muscle soreness and allows athletes to recover faster so they can perform more work and compete at a higher level. Many people suffer from pain in their muscles and tendons. A recent study from Denmark shows that deep massage therapy and regular exercise help to relieve these trigger point pains, while ultrasound does not.
Why then do some physicians still not recommend massage therapy for their patients? A recent study from the University of Calgary shows that physicians, who may speak against massage, know least about how it is done and when to recommend it (4).
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