Recovering Faster: Why sports massage is critical for young athletes

Injuries are tough...maybe even more so for young athletes due to not only the taxing physical recovery, but the mental and emotional aspects that go along with trying to make it back. Kids are pushed hard these days due to a very competitive world, and resting is considered "over-rated" by many. However, keep in mind that over training and repetitive muscle actions increase the rate of an injury, particularly for teens who are more vulnerable due to changing bodies.This overuse may result in joint pain, muscle exhaustion and inflammation that may lead to more serious injuries, especially when you add in the "growth" factor...yes, teens are growing!

So, how can we help our young athletes mitigate injury that is often a result of overuse, besides the obvious, rest? Massage of course. Massage is a common facet for professional athletes and is gaining momentum for amateurs as well. Tom Smith, athletic trainer for the Orlando Magic, was interviewed in an article by the Massage Therapy Foundation and mentioned that massage can have "very powerful healing results" and he is a huge believer in it. Isn't it cool that you, as a parent, can offer the same healing touch to your young athlete that professional athletes are getting?

Let's take a look at the benefits of sports massage:

*Recovery time improves as muscles are flushed out and replenished with nutrients and fresh oxygen *Decreases muscle adhesions (scar tissue) * Improves muscle flexibility *Increases range of motion in joints and flexibility *Decreases "stiff" muscles and reduces muscle soreness *Reduces inflammation *Supports growth of new mitochondria (energy producing units of cells) *Psychologically reduces stress by increasing dopamine and serotonin and reducing cortisol *Proactive preventative for injuries *Enhances performance

The benefits are remarkable and the best part is that you can do this at home to support your young athlete. Sports massage no longer needs to be reserved for collegiate and professional athletes.