By Staff Writer
The massage (from the Greek massein which means “kneading”, “modelling”) is the oldest form of physical therapy, used over time by different civilisations, to relieve pain and relax the muscles by removing fatigue.
The massage that prepares a training / competition has a heating function as it increases the temperature of the skin and muscles, predisposing them to contract with maximum speed and strength; it is also used to stimulate the central nervous system , favouring its complete activation. Besides having an effect on the neuro-muscular, circulatory and respiratory systems, it also acts on the psychological and mental state of the athlete.
The infra-race massage can be performed, if the athlete needs it, during competition pauses. It is useful for restoring an ideal physiological condition of the muscles subjected to the stress of competitive exercise , facilitating the elimination of catabolites , ie those waste substances that accumulate due to intense effort.
The post-race massage, instead, is useful in the recovery of effort, and is aimed at accelerating the disposal of toxins produced during muscular activity, favouring venous blood drainage and arterial blood supply.
The effects of massage:
Effects on the skin:
The skin is the first organ involved in the massage. Massaging the central nervous system is stimulated, dead skin cells are eliminated, circulation and transpiration is improved . The massage increases the tone of the muscles and the dermis, and makes the skin smooth and elastic. The increase in surface temperature causes a pleasant sensation of well-being, in some cases reducing local pains .
Effects on blood circulation:
The mechanical action of massage stimulates the production of a tissue hormone, histamine, which is a messenger in many processes, including inflammatory and immune processes, which activates vasodilation, increasing blood supply and therefore tissue oxygenation .
Effects on muscles:
The massage promotes muscle recovery and helps restore the tone after heavy physical loads. It also stimulates the electrical activity of the fibres, increasing oxygenation and therefore speeding up recovery.
Effect on the nervous system:
Depending on the massage mode, excitation and irritation or relaxation effects can be achieved; regardless of how it is practiced, the massage plays an important role in the reduction of muscle soreness post-exertion.
Benefits for the lymphatic system and kidneys
Some massage techniques act directly on the lymphatic system and favour a harmonic redistribution of internal liquids. Thus the kidneys excrete toxins, preventing possible systemic dysfunctions with benefits also for the immune system.
From the aesthetic point of view, the action on the lymphatic system allows to prevent cellulite and other types of blemishes.
The combined effects that massage techniques guarantee in terms of relaxation, blood circulation and muscle toning are directly reflected on breathing , which is regularised and is more efficient.
However, a massage session is not always advisable for the well-being of the recipient. In fact, there are cases in which to undergo a physical manipulation treatment is totally inadvisable .
In the case of current infections or inflammation , the massage is harmful, since the skin in those cases is more sensitive and rubbing can cause discomfort and accentuate inflammation. In the same way and for the same reasons, it is good not to undergo massages in case of fever.
The massage is inconvenient even in the case of cutaneous disease , especially if it is contagious, and following traumas such as sprains, dislocations, fractures and muscle sprains and in the periods following surgery.
Subjects who have been implanted with a pacemaker must avoid stressing the chest area while there are no particular restrictions on performing massages on other parts of the body.
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