In some quarters golf has a reputation as a sedentary sport, played largely by pudgy executives in electric carts rambling endlessly about their stock options. Anyone who actually plays the game, however, knows how undeserved this reputation is, and even a short 9-hole game can take a significant toll on the avid golfer's body due to both the long distance walking and the violent, unnatural motions of a typical swing.
Fortunately, golfers have many ways to treat the injuries that a vigorous game can cause, and massage therapy is one of the most effective and widely used. Many massage therapists treat sports injuries, and the services they offer can both promote healing of existing injuries and prevent new ones from occurring.
How can massage therapy help my golfing injuries heal?
Whether you're an occasional weekend golfer or a seasoned professional, the rigours of golf can cause a wide variety of injuries to the soft tissues of your body. Sprained ankles, pulled muscles in the back and shoulders, and damaged ligaments and tendons surrounding various joints are particularly common, and will keep you off the course until they are given a chance to heal and the damaged body part can return to its original strength and mobility.
Massage is an excellent way to speed this healing process, and it's particularly effective when used alongside other restorative measures. Massage techniques (particularly deep tissue massage) promote increased blood flow to the injured part of the body; this blood carries with it healing factors and antibodies that help the damaged tissues repair themselves more speedily.
Massage therapy is particularly useful for rehabilitating joint injuries, as it helps to prevent permanent loss of mobility in the damaged joint. Since a damage joint usually has to be stabilised and immobilised to prevent further damage, the tendons and muscles that control it often atrophy and weaken during the healing process, which can result in permanent stiffness and weakness. The physical stimulation provided by massage helps prevent this atrophy from occurring, keeping the tissues active and readily supplied with blood until they can be put to use once more.
How can massage therapy prevent new injuries from occurring?
Preventing is always better than a cure, and massage can be just as effective at preventing injuries as rehabilitating them. Undergoing massage before a game can help reduce tightness in your muscles and tendons, leaving you flexible and limber and freeing up your swing. Pre-game massage is particularly useful if you have previously-incurred injuries, as this increased flexibility helps to break up any scar tissue that may have accumulated and prevent the injury from recurring.
Post-game massages are equally beneficial, as the increase in blood flow it provides helps flush away lactic acid and other accumulated byproducts of strenuous activity more easily. This helps to prevent cramping and post-game soreness which can leave you stiff, in pain and vulnerable to injury.