Martial Arts and Massage

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By Marianne Macdonald Msc

There is a long tradition of the use of massage by martial artists. Some incorporate learning massage skills as part of training, such as with Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. At the Jen Jhi Dao Taiji Quan school that I am part of, medicine is one of the seven aspects, with massage being an integral part of that aspect. Others use sports massage to enable them to recover from training more quickly, as well as to specifically aid in increasing flexibility and allow their muscles to work at their peak. While the use of sports massage is increasing worldwide, some athletes have not yet experienced the benefits to be gained, perhaps partly because they lack knowledge about it. This article aims to remedy that.

k_massage_3Types of Massage
Deep tissue; sports; remedial; therapeutic, relaxation, neuromuscular therapy, trigger point therapy…It is easy to be confused by the variety of terms used. Although therapists may have specific techniques that they use or types of client that they treat (e.g. athletes or pregnant women), to simplify things, massage therapists are either qualified to provide relaxation sessions for clients or they have the expertise to provide treatment for specific medical problems and injuries, such as postural misalignment, back and neck pain, and shoulder injuries. This training means that they are not only able to provide an effective treatment, but have the knowledge to act in a professional manner, for example making sure that appropriate massage techniques are chosen to facilitate the results you want with your body. For example you wouldn’t want focused deep tissue techniques in the hours leading up to an important event.

Qualifications
These depend on the country you are in. Some countries have no legal requirement for someone advertising as a massage therapist to have any training at all. Therefore, it is in your interests to check the qualifications of any prospective (or current) therapist. A good recommendation is that they are a member of a professional massage association. In New Zealand, Massage New Zealand (MNZ), is the association for massage therapists. Certified Massage Therapists (CMTs) provide relaxation massage, while Remedial Massage Therapists (RMTs) provide treatment. MNZ has a register of CMTs and RMTs on their website www.massasgenewzealand.org which gives information of what therapists provide specific sports massage.

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The Benefits of Sports Massage

Sports massage has many benefits. The healthy athlete, as well as the injured athlete, may benefit from quality massage therapy. Listed are some of the many benefits of sports massage for athletes.

Increased suppleness and resiliency in the muscles, tendons and ligaments. This decreases the chances of injuries and improves the recovery from injuries.

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Neuromuscular Therapy

What is Neuromuscular Therapy?NMT is a complete bodywork package to reduce pain and ease dysfunction. NMT is based on balancing the nervous system with the muscular system and searches for the underlying causes of long standing pain.

The overall aim is to achieve balance and full function of the soft tissues in a pain-free body.

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Fitness-related Benefits of Massage

If you ask someone their reason for getting a massage, you’re very likely going to hear “because it feels good”. We all know a good massage can relieve stress, helps with relaxation, and can make sore muscles feel better and even reduce anxiety, but can it help us achieve our fitness goals?

Research shows that the massage you get to relieve stress can also have a positive effect on your muscle-building capabilities and fitness level.

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