Massages can help reduce pain and inflammation
Does massage work? Depending on the severity of the inflammation, massage therapy is known to help reduce pain and swelling and promote the recovery of injured muscles. Massage is known to improve blood circulation and reduce tissue stiffness, which can help reduce pain.
NHL teams have their own massage therapists that help the players. Chuck Garlow has been a massage therapist for the Buffalo Sabres for 17 years and considers himself lucky to have 1 of 30 job positions – now 1 of 3 since two new NHL teams have been added.
Therapeutic massage can provide pain relief through a variety of mechanisms, including relaxing muscles, tendons, and joints; stress and anxiety relief; and potentially helping to “close the pain door” by stimulating competing nerve fibers and hindering pain messages to and from the brain.
Massages can improve circulation
Regular massage can help relieve inflammation, improve fluid retention, and improve blood flow. Lymphatic massage and Petrissage are two massage techniques that support chronic inflammatory diseases because they promote the drainage of fluids from the tissues. Studies using flow-mediated dilation (FMD) have shown that lower extremity massage can help reduce inflammation more than upper extremity techniques.
Massages are especially useful during the playoffs, since NHL players suffer through so many injuries. Unable to even take time off, because missing even 1 game is too much.
Circulation massage is the most widely used treatment for improving blood circulation throughout the body and relaxing various muscles. This massage relaxes tense muscles in the body, relieves physical stress, and improves a person’s overall health. It involves applying pressure (medium to deep), tension, vibration or movement to different parts of the body using the hand, arm or electronic massager. This massage was developed in Sweden and is now used in different parts of the world due to its unlimited benefits.
Massages can improve sleep
Being able to relax is one of the best things a person can do to improve sleep. During the massage, the heart rate and blood pressure are lowered, and a sense of well-being and relaxation is created. Improved sleep often accompanies this relaxed state of mind and body, which research shows can last up to 24 hours (or longer!) after a massage.
Numerous studies have found that massage therapy can improve sleep and actually help maintain consistent sleep patterns. Of course, we all know that sleep is an important part of any athlete’s recovery process, but muscle pain and tension can sometimes prevent this, wreaking havoc in the long run. Even Sidney Crosby follows a strict sleep schedule, and I’m sure all the massage therapy he receives helps him.