Once thought of as a luxury, reserved only for the rich and famous or as a special treat for the general public, only enjoyed on occasion, massage therapy has now become a beneficial, even a vital component of treating and healing all types of ailments, from surgical procedures to athletic injuries.
It’s long been known that massage provides benefits, such as pain relief. In recent years, however, researchers have discovered that the massage therapy offers a myriad of advantages – and that those advantages extend far beyond easing pain; they have a profound impact on both the physical and psychological self. While this is true for everyone, more physically active individuals, in particular – athletes, bodybuilders, and weightlifters, for example – benefit from massage therapy.
7 Benefits of Massage for the Athletically-Inclined
Thanks to the findings of numerous research studies, trainers and physical therapists are gaining a better understanding of the link between physical fitness in the form of athletics, weightlifting, bodybuilding, and general exercise, and massage therapy.
In fact, the beneficial effects of massage are so profound that world-class athletes and professional sports teams employing teams of massage therapists has become the norm. But what are those benefits? Let’s take a look.
Reduced Pain and Inflammation
It isn’t uncommon for physically active men and women to experience mild, moderate, and even severe pain and inflammation, which, as expected, has a profound impact on their performance – as well as their overall well-being. Inflammation and pain creates obstacles that prevent the body from functioning properly. Regular massage therapy has been found to minimize inflammation in the muscles, thereby reducing pain.
The body’s muscles need lots of energy to reduce inflammation. Massage therapy has been found to prompt mitochondrial production. Mitochondria are known as the “powerhouse” of the cells; therefore, because massage therapy triggers the generation of mitochondria, it helps the muscles store enough energy to minimize muscular inflammation. Because pain is largely the result of inflammation, massage therapy also helps to ease pain.
Whether you’re an athlete, a bodybuilder, a weightlifter, or you just workout regularly, there’s no doubt that you’ve experienced at least one (though likely more) injury. Since massage therapy helps to reduce inflammation and pain, it has also been found to increase flexibility and agility. The more flexible and agile you are, the risk of sustaining an injury will decrease; in fact, it may decrease significantly. Believe it or not, tense muscles are the cause of the vast majority of injuries; therefore, the more relaxed your muscles are, the less likely it is that you will sustain an injury.
In addition to injury prevention, it has been found that massage therapy can help to heal the body when an injury does occur. If you’ve every suffered an injury, there’s no doubt that you well remember the pain you experienced during the healing process. With massage, you can minimize the discomfort and speed up the rate of recovery for any future injuries that you may develop.
Studies have found that massage reduces the incidence of the delayed onset muscle soreness that often occurs as a result of intensive training. While there isn’t an immediate, bulletproof remedy for injury recovery, massage therapy can certainly help to speed up the healing process.
Improved Blood Flow
Every athletic person knows the importance of healthy blood flow. The healthy circulation of blood is vital for the transfer of oxygen to the cells that allows you to create the energy that your muscles use; therefore, blood circulation has a direct impact on your performance. Studies indicate that massage therapy is an effective way to maintain blood flow, and to diminish muscle soreness. In addition to improving the circulation of blood, massage improves lymph flow, which maintains the health and functionality of your body’s vascular system.
Mobility and Flexibility Enhancement
Whether you’re an athlete, a weightlifter, a bodybuilder, or you just like to work out and participate in sports recreationally to maintain your health and physique, increased mobility and flexibility will help to boost your performance. On top of boosting your performance, the more flexible and agile your body is, the less prone you will be to injuries, and the faster you will recover from any injuries that you do sustain.
When you receive massage therapy treatments on a regular basis, your blood circulation improves significantly. By enhancing the flow of blood toward the muscle tissues and fascia, your mobility and flexibility range will increase substantially. Having a massage a few days or on the eve of a game, for example, can do a world of good for your performance.
Mental and Physical Relaxation
In order to put forth your best performance, it’s imperative for your mind and body to be in the right space. The therapeutic benefits of massage offer the utmost relaxation – both physically and psychologically. With massage therapy, your mind and body will be able to get into the right emotional, physical, and psychological state.
Sleep has a profound impact on your overall health and well-being, as we discussed in our dream blanket and athletic mattress guides. It also has a direct impact on an athlete’s performance because the body recovers during sleep and only during sleep. All systems and cells are regenerated, and your body repairs and heals itself.
Massage therapy has been found to be incredibly beneficial for sleep. Not only does it help you fall asleep easier and faster, but it also helps you achieve a deeper, more restful, and thus, a more restorative sleep.
Additional Benefits of Massage Therapy
In addition to the above benefits, massage therapy can provide the following advantages for athletic, physically active individuals:
- Reduced muscle tension
- Lessened muscular hypertonicity
- Improved soft tissue functioning
- Minimized muscular stiffness and fatigue
- Reduced incidence of breathing pattern impediments
- Reduction of heart rate anomalies
- Less swelling
The Best Massage Tables For Home Use
Clearly, the benefits of massage therapy are many and are profound. Needless to say, whether you’re a professional or recreational athlete, weightlifter, or bodybuilder – or if you just enjoy being physically fit to maintain your overall health and well-being – taking advantage of the benefits of massage therapy would certainly be worth your while.
If massage is something that you would like to add to your routine, you could certainly become a regular at a spa or schedule appointments with a physical therapist; however, if your schedule is hectic or if you’d prefer to have hire your own massage therapist, or if a trusted friend or family member has been trained in massage therapy, you may enjoy partaking in therapeutic sessions in the comfort of your own home (or wherever you may be, such as a hotel, if you’re on the road).
Of course, if you’re going to go that route, to make the most of the experience, you are going to want to have the proper tools and equipment. Fortunately, massage therapy doesn’t require a whole lot of gear, save a few essential items like a percussion massager, and a massage table is one of the most essential and fundamental.
Sure, you could just lie on the floor, a bed, a couch, but if you want to take full advantage of the benefits that massage therapy provides, you’re definitely going to want to invest in a massage table.
Why? Because these tables are specifically designed for, well, massage. They’re stable, supportive, allow you to be properly positioned, allow the therapists to access key locations and perform massage with ease, and ensure your comfort. In other words, your massage therapy sessions will be much more successful and experience when they’re performed on a massage table as opposed to any other surface.
- Massage table offers client comfort and adjustable-height ergonomics for massage therapists
- 30" Width x 84" Length x 24" To 34" Adjustable height; table itself weighs only 34lbs.
- Beech Hardwood Frame / Multiple Frame Support Cables / Threaded Support Bar
Things to Consider When Massage Table Shopping
With the above said, given massage therapy’s rise in popularity, the market has been inundated with massage tables. While you’ll have no trouble finding a table, you don’t want to choose just any one; you want to make sure that you select the right one. To do that, take the following factors into consideration before you make your final selection:
- Table width. The width of a massage table is quite important. It should be wide enough to support your body, and if you’re planning on sharing the table with others – or if you’re performing massage therapy yourself – you should select a table that is wide enough to support bodies of varying shapes and sizes, thereby ensuring optimal comfort. Also, consider the size of the space the table will be used in to ensure that it will be able to fit into that space.
- Length and height. The length and height of the table are equally as important as its width. It should be long enough to accommodate your entire body while you’re lying down; the standard length is 73 inches, and can accommodate most heights. If you need additional length, opt for one that features an adjustable face cradle, which can add between 7 to 9 inches to the table’s length.
- Weight capacity. Also known as “working weight”, the weight capacity describes the amount of weight that a massage table can accommodate. Consider your weight – and the weight of others who may be using the table – as well as the weight that the therapist will be applying to the table via the pressure he or she applies.
- Foam thickness. Massage tables are covered with foam, and that foam will impact your comfort. The thicker and higher the quality of the foam, the more comfortable the massage table will be; plus, the thicker and higher the quality of the foam, the longer the massage table will last. As a general rule of thumb, the foam on a massage table should be a minimum of 2 inches thick; however, foam that measures 3 inches thick and that is semi-firm would be ideal.
Popular Types of Massage Tables
There are three main types of massage tables available: portable, stationary, and hydraulic/electric. Let’s take a closer look at each one:
- Portable massage tables. As the name suggests, portable massage tables are lightweight and fold down, making them easy to transport and store. If you’d like to have a massage in different locations – your home, a friend’s house, at the gym, in a hotel, or on vacation, for example – a portable massage table would be convenient. Plus, they also tend to be the least costly.
- Stationary. Again, as the name suggests, stationary massage tables are designed to be used in one location. They are heavier and sturdier, and aren’t intended to be transported or stowed away. A stationary table is ideal for heavier individuals, and they’re often equipped with additional features, such as drawers that can be used to store linens.
- Hydraulic/ electric. These massage tables can be raised and lowered with ease, making them an ideal choice for those who have mobility issues; they have difficult climbing onto and off of a table. Typically, they’re very sturdy and durable and they’re more adjustable than the other two options; however, the price tag of a hydraulic/electric massage table tends to be high.
The Best Massage Table Brands
While there are several massage table manufacturers, if you want to ensure a high-quality option, you would be wise to select a model made by one of the most popular brands, including the following:
Oakworks is hailed for the wide range of high-quality massage tables they provide. The manufacturer offers portable, stationary, and hydraulic massage tables in a variety of heights and widths, and that vary from simplistic to an array of features. They’re also made of highly durable materials and are expertly constructed.
EarthLite is another highly reputable massage table brand. Their catalog of products vary widely and include an assortment of tables in an array of heights, widths, and features. Of course, they also offer the three main types of massage tables, and all expertly constructed of the most durable materials.
You’ll find an array of well-made, top-quality massage tables from StrongLite, as well. With this manufacturer, you’ll find tables that are strong, durable, comfortable, and that are long-lasting, making them a great value for the investment. Of course, StrongLite tables are available in an array of sizes, and they feature various types of foams and fabrics, as well as features.
Skinny Yoked Summary
We’re not saying every person who goes to the gym needs a massage table, that’s obviously not very practical for most people’s living situations or budgets.
If however though you are a competitive bodybuilder, a professional athlete, or just suffer from severe back pain then investing in your own home massage platform not only allows more immediate access to relief but it can actually save you time and money in the long run. There are thousands of independent traveling massage therapists that will come give you relief in your own home, which is the ideal solution in our book.
Last update on 2022-03-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API