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Live in Your Body Again

 Medical Massage & Rehabilitation

Teen Athletes

The Importance of Teen Sports Massage

High schools and universities across the country are adapting to the needs of their stressed students. Competitiveness, heavy workloads, and excessive involvement in activities are among the factors stressing out our kids. From offering massage therapy to teenagers weary from the college application process to arranging yoga classes to curb exam stress, school administrators are recognizing and trying to ease the heightened stress of today's students. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a report emphasizing that free time and playtimes are essential to the cognitive, social, and emotional development of children, and that it is crucial for students, parents, and schools to understand the role of stress in young people's lives.

I have attended youth soccer, baseball, football and basketball games and have noticed many of the players on both teams wearing knee braces. I recognize youth sports as being rough, but the number of knee supports caught me a little off guard.

Then I heard a parent speaking with another remark after her son experienced a hard fall, "Yes, the cause of possible surgery, is due to that!" Whew!! What a price to pay to play a game – the potential of a lifelong injury site and later pain of arthritis, lost cartilage, and potentially more surgeries.

Of course, proper preparation for any sports activity becomes a critical component of training. Warming up, stretching, conditioning muscles and joints, and getting a professional sports massage on a regular basis for specialized performance must not be overlooked or simplified.

Just as important to training and practice is the right diet. Bones, connective tissues, muscles, organs, and the brain all need a variety of nutrients to perform. The excessive demands of sports require even more nutrients of the best quality; not just carb loading, but the full array of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables. This is especially true for teens who are still growing and developing. Dark leafy greens, both in salads and steamed are great for increasing magnesium stores that aid in muscle relaxation. Snacks including seeds and nuts, some dried fruits (unsulfured is best), berries, veggie sticks, and fruit wedges with natural peanut or nut butters provide lots of protein and antioxidants that assist in reducing inflammatory responses due to injuries and increase healing time. Drinking lots of fresh filtered water and herbal teas help flush toxins from the body and green tea provides an additional boost of antioxidants.

Massage therapy provides many positive benefits to our young athletes during training, prior to, and following games to ensure the release of lactic acid buildup in tissues and to release muscle tensions, spasms, and pain. Massage therapy is just as effective in addressing pain regions such as legs, arms, shoulders, or backs as is a whole body massage. I recommend massage as a regular component for our athletic teens participating in school sports. Massage will help our teens remain strong and healthy during their school sports and assist in preventing lifelong injuries.

Sports massage is an important part of any athletes training and body maintenance program. If your teen is playing school sports or playing in a competitive league, massage will help them to maintain proper body alignment as well as keeping fluids moving. Sports massage can also be instrumental in helping young athletes avoid injury as well as promoting self awareness, which is extremely important for an athletes of any age. If your teen is practicing more that 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day at least 5 days a week, they are an athlete. They train hard and with training comes a personal responsibility for self awareness and self care. If there is an injury or noticeable lapse in performance, I can work with your teens coach to discuss any movement or performance issues they may have noticed and together we can assist your teen athlete in performing to the best of their abilities.