The life of a mixed martial artist is a life of pain and suffering. Injury plagues the sport and can render even the most elite champions useless in the octagon. When engaging in any high endurance activity, routine massage therapy will help keep your muscles relaxed and healthy.
In the weeks or months leading up to a fight, most mixed martial artists will partake in a training camp where they will exercise daily, eat a strict diet and manage their performance. Massage therapists may seem like a luxury, but to many fighters, they are an integral part of the team in the buildup to a fight.
The main purpose of having a sports massage is to relieve muscle tightness and the formation of knots. Flexibility is one of the most important aspects of mixed martial arts. A wide range of motion helps fighters execute moves with power and agility. Knots and muscle tightness increase the risk of pulls, strains and tears, which can not only be uncomfortable for the fighter but could result in unbearable pain and a significant disadvantage.
A sports massage will aid circulation and reduce inflammation. The deep stroking movement brings more oxygen and nutrients to the tissue, resulting in the dilation of blood vessels. This also assists the removal of toxins. However, one of the most significant benefits to martial artists is the effects on the skeletal system. The release of tension caused by enhanced tissue elasticity places less stress on the joints and soft tissue, which further boosts mobility.
Diet and nutrition play a significant part in MMA training. The stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system can enhance digestion. This helps relieve colic symptoms, such as gas and constipation, and increases circulation to the lymphatic system and urinary tract. Together, this aids the body's removal of toxins and helps it to absorb more nutrients.
Massage therapy releases endorphins, which help reduce pain and discomfort. The heat that's generated can also relax the muscles and create a sense of calm that's felt throughout the whole body. Mixed martial arts is both a mental and physical game. For an athlete, these psychological benefits can increase their competitive edge and help push their body to greater lengths.
While you can never predict what part of your body will fall victim to a punch, kick or submission, ensuring you're properly educated in injury prevention and maintenance will limit the damage caused. This will enable you to get back in the octagon without hindering your training routine.