The importance of recovery for any athlete cannot be over-emphasized. A contrast bath involves immersing the joint in alternating hot and cold water, which helps to increase blood flow to the area and accelerate metabolic healing. Contrast bath therapy also causes numbness in the joint or muscle and increases the elasticity of the ligaments, giving our athletes greater range of motion. The process works through a repetition of two processes known as vasodilation and vasoconstriction. The hot water causes vasodilation, or the widening of the blood vessels, while the cold water causes vasoconstriction, which is when the blood vessels tighten. A contrast bath alternates between these two processes in order to create a pumping action in the area receiving the treatment. This pumping action increases blood flow and helps to drain excess fluids out of a swollen joint or muscle.
Massage therapy increases flexibility. For an athlete to maintain optimal performance, he must have a high degree of flexibility. No matter which sport or sports the athlete is involved in, if he can gain more flexibility though massage therapy, then he will have an advantage over his competitors. Since massage therapy stretches the muscle fibers, flexibility is promoted and maintained.
Massage therapy improves circulation. With better circulation, the athlete can breathe easier and move more smoothly. Since the practice of massage helps with blood flow, the circulation of the athlete will be improved and this will enhance his performance levels.
Massage therapy alleviates muscle pain. If an athlete is in pain due to an injury, he will not be playing his best game. With regular massage therapy, muscle pain can be curbed and the athlete can do his best job without being side tracked by pain issues.
Massage therapy promotes better sleep patterns. By getting regular massages, an athlete can actually improve the quantity and quality of sleep he is getting. By getting more sound sleep, the athlete is better able to perform at an optimal level.
Massage therapy increases relaxation levels. When an athlete canít relax and has no real down time, stress can begin to take a toll on his health. By getting massages, he can learn to relax his body and his mind and improve his day to day life.