Massage chair benefits for athletes- what are they ?
If you are into athletics or sports at any level, you are probably already aware of the benefits a really good massage can offer you.
Compete at a high level and a massage session before and after competing is often part of the routine. In fact, most of our top sportsmen and women travel with their own team of masseurs and physios all the time for this purpose.
But how can you incorporate massage therapy into your life, whatever stage you are at in your sporting career?
Not all athletes can afford the time and expense of many sessions with a masseuse, especially if training every day. So, what’s the answer?
You may just want to take a look at a massage chair.
Image source -http://Australian Paralympic Committee, 141100 – Athletics track Patricia Flavel finish line – 3b – 2000 Sydney race photo, re size by no, CC BY-SA 3.0
A little robotic chair history
Originally brought to market by the Fujiiryoki company in Japan in 1954, they are still immensely popular there. It’s estimated that today, over 15% of the total Japanese population own a massage chair!
Manufacturing soon expanded to Singapore and China and today these three countries still lead the way.
The US market didn’t really take off until recent years but now it’s rapidly expanding. So much so that there are now several US based suppliers established to service a growing market.
Massage chairs have come a long way since they first hit the market in the 1950s.
If you’re thinking of the odd-looking contraptions that still grace airport lounges around the world, then you may be in for a shock.
They now come in a wide range of styles, sizes and levels of sophistication to suit most budgets and households.
Technology has advanced so much that these robotic wonders are now providing what they call a 3D massage experience. Inflatable air bags, zero gravity seats, and full body mapping are all part of what they can offer.
The technology is now at a point that even a mid-level chair can provide you with an unbelievable massage.
With prices coming down to reasonable levels, more people than ever can now enjoy the benefits in their own home, whenever they want.
But to understand just what one can do for you as an athlete or competitor, we need to look a bit more at some massage therapy benefits.
Relaxation and feeling happy
When most people think of having a massage, they associate it with relaxing tired muscles and a general feeling of calm.
There’s a good reason for that. Massaging sore and stiff muscles will relieve pain and tension by stimulating a strong supply of blood full of oxygen.
It also releases endorphins, also known as the “happy” hormone An entirely natural process that will lift you emotionally with no side effects whatsoever.
Some chairs even come with MP3 players to help you relax and heat features to enhance the healing effects of the massage.
Faster recovery from injury
Injuries are constantly getting in the way of performing at your best or even taking part at all in some cases.
A gentle massage is a great way to keep muscles supple whilst encouraging recovery and rehabilitation. Keeping tendons and ligaments loose and flexible will also aid a quicker recovery time.
Massage chairs provide just the right support and targeted programs to provide all this whenever you need it. You will be back in the game before you know it.
Flexibility to prevent injury
They say prevention is better than cure and that’s certainly true when it comes to muscle injury.
Similar to, but more effective than, a warm down routine, a session in the massage chair after training gently stretches your muscles. This keeps them flexible and allows them to recover quickly ready for the next training session.
Regular use will promote long-term flexibility which is the key to preventing injury when you’re in action.
If you wanted to take this a step further, you could use your chair a few hours before training or competing to enhance your warm-up routine.
Not only would this reduce the injury risk, but it would increase performance as well.
We all know (or should do!) how important a good night’s sleep is to help our body rest and repair itself.
For athletes and sportsmen, this is even more critical to remain focused and perform to their maximum ability.
All too often though, sleep seems impossible, usually, at the times we need it most!
Massage therapy promotes the ability to sleep through the night by relaxing your body and calming the mind.
10 or 15 minutes of deep massage before you go to bed would be a great way to get the most out of this effect.
If you are one of those people who have difficulty getting to sleep or staying there once you are asleep, then a massage chair could be your answer.
Can massage chairs really provide all those benefits?
Without a doubt, the answer would be yes!
Modern chairs have the ability to target specific areas and groups of muscles. Whether it’s your lower back you need working on or an old shoulder injury that’s playing up, a good chair will spend time just on that one spot.
A massage regime targeted towards sportsmen and women uses certain techniques. These include compression, deep tissue, and cross fiber massage.
Most chairs will provide built in programs that are set up to provide the same benefit. You can even set up your own selection of programs that are stored in memory so you can run them whenever you like.
Arguably the biggest benefit of having a massage chair for any athlete or sports person is simply the fact of having it on hand whenever you need it.
Making massage sessions a part of your routine is the best way to reap the rewards of this type of therapy. Using a chair specifically designed for this purpose is perhaps the best way to achieve this.
If you’ve never tried one out, now would be a good time to get a demonstration just to see what they can do.