Student-athletes may have the benefits of youth on their side, but that doesn’t mean they are protected from sports-related injuries, pain, and discomfort.

The increasingly competitive nature of youth sports paired with long seasons and intense conditioning and training can leave young athletes vulnerable to muscle tension and injury.

Much like their adult counterparts, youth athletes can find relief, protection, and improvement through massage therapy.

Benefits of massage therapy can be viewed in three ways: relief from injury, muscle conditioning, and reduced stress.

What are the benefits of massage therapy for young athletes?

For athletes of any age, the benefits of massage therapy can be viewed in three ways: relief from injury, muscle conditioning, and reduced stress. Let’s further break down each benefit.

Injury and Pain Management

If your child is suffering from a muscle-related injury, massage therapy can aid in the healing process. Increased circulation and decreased muscle tension can expedite the healing process, relieving pain and allowing them to return to the field or court quicker.

Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion

When practiced regularly, massage therapy can help enhance their athletic performance and may even decrease the likelihood that they’ll suffer from common muscle-related injuries, like sprains and strains.

That’s because regular massage therapy can decrease muscle tension while also increasing flexibility and range of motion.

Decreased stress and anxiety

The benefits of massage therapy for young athletes aren’t limited to on-the-field growth and enhancement, however. Young athletes can also experience the same benefits of massage therapy as adults, including decreased anxiety.  This can be a valuable benefit for athletes that are often under pressure both on and off the field.

Do massages improve athletic performance?

Because regular massage therapy can result in more flexibility, an increased range of motion, and less muscle pain and tension massage therapy can directly improve athletic performance.

Massage therapy may also improve healing and, since it provides improved flexibility, expedite injury recovery or prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.

What type of massage is best for young athletes?

Young athletes who turn to massage therapy as part of their conditioning or as a form of injury management will likely find the most value in a deep tissue massage. This type of massage focuses on the musculoskeletal system and is the number one choice for treating sports-related injuries or concerns.

Keep in mind, however, that massage services vary, and you may find that the massage therapist of your choice offers a sports-specific massage service designed specifically with athletes in mind.

If you’re not sure which option is best, always contact the massage center for more details. A good massage therapist will be able to field your questions and guide you and your child towards the best service option.

The benefits of massage therapy for young athletes aren’t limited to on-the-field growth and enhancements.

How often should an athlete get a massage?

Like adult athletes, young athletes benefit from regular massage therapy scheduled weekly or biweekly. This is particularly true during the sports season or while engaging in intense training and conditioning.

By scheduling weekly or biweekly massages, student-athletes are more likely to reach peak performance while also decreasing the risk of injuries that occur due to tight muscles, a lack of flexibility, or a limited range of motion.

How do you prepare your child for a sports massage?

For some adults, their first massage can be somewhat anxiety-inducing, especially if they don’t know what to expect. Young athletes can have a similar reaction to their first massage, causing them to become anxious or unsure about what to expect.

Preparing your child for their first sports massage can ease their anxiety and make the experience more effective and enjoyable.

Before your child goes for their first massage, walk them through the process and tell them what to expect. If you’re not sure, consider contacting the massage therapist who will administer the massage. They should be more than happy to speak to you and your child about what to expect.

In addition, it’s also a good idea to remind your child that they are in control of their body and that they have the power to control the experience by informing the therapist of any boundaries they may have both before and during the massage.

Finally, though not always required, many parents choose to stay in the room during the massage to provide an additional layer of comfort for their child.

There are many reasons why you may want to consider incorporating massage therapy into your child’s sports conditioning.  Not only can massage therapy provide relief from sport-related injuries, but it can also improve flexibility and range of motion, leading to improved performance on the field.

Not sure if massage therapy is right for your child or have other questions regarding the benefits of massage for young athletes?  Contact us below so we can answer your questions and schedule your athlete’s first session.


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