As an athlete, you already know that you’ve got to maintain optimal health if you want to keep playing the sport you love. One way you can do this is by getting manual therapy from a physical therapist.
Also called hands-on therapy, this therapy category includes several beneficial techniques. All these techniques involve the physical therapist using their hands to move and/or manipulate problem areas. Hands-on therapy can be successful for many types of athletes. One study reports that manual therapy had a 70% success rate for baseball players with reduced shoulder range of motion. Here are five of the benefits that manual therapy can offer athletes:
- Improved circulation
Regular hands-on therapy during your physical therapy program can improve circulation considerably. Better circulation means that your muscles get the blood supply needed to prevent stiffness and tension. Your muscles will work and feel better after therapeutic massage.
- Improved immune system function
Sickness can be extra hard on athletes. Just one bad cold or flu can keep you out of the game you love for weeks, and you might feel less than your best for quite a while after that, too. Fortunately, hands-on therapy can help boost your immune system’s natural defenses. During manual therapy, your body is prompted to power up its natural cytotoxic capacity. This basically means that you’ll be better able to fight off germs, bacteria and illnesses.
- Decreased amounts of scar tissue
When you’re injured, your body forms adhesions, or bands of tough scar tissue, around the injury. These adhesions can restrict your movement, cause serious pain and delay your recovery.
Your physical therapist can use manual therapy to deal with adhesions efficiently. They can use specific targeted techniques, like active release, that can break up the adhesions. In turn, fewer adhesions can unbind your muscles. This is an important component of your physical therapy program because being adhesion-free is important for both pain relief and your range of motion.
- Increased muscle relaxation
While muscle relaxation is the best-known benefit of manual therapy, it takes on a whole new importance for an athlete. Muscle soreness, tightness and pain are all things you expect as an athlete.
The good news is that you can greatly decrease these issues with regular hands-on therapy. Even after you’ve completed a physical therapy program following an injury, you may benefit from regular hands-on therapy sessions with your physical therapist.
- Improved posture
Manual therapy, when coupled with other therapy techniques, can do a lot of good for your posture. It can help stretch your muscles and bring joints back into alignment. In turn, this can naturally improve your posture.
Better posture has multiple benefits for athletes. When you’ve got good posture, your body can move at its peak, all the time. It also means you can apply the full power of your muscles to the movements you’re doing. Even better, proper posture can help reduce the risk of sports injuries.
Athletes can find effective therapy at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
As an athlete, your body needs to be in the best condition at all times. Our physical therapy specialists at Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation can help you reach this important goal. We offer complimentary screenings that can pinpoint muscle imbalances and other issues that can reduce your athletic performance. Additionally, our physical therapists excel at building individualized therapy plans to meet the needs of many types of athletes.
Want to avoid coming in for an in-person therapy session? That’s OK! Our team offers therapy services that are specifically designed to be used from home, and this includes our virtual therapy and at-home care services. You’ll even be able to get started with your physical therapy without a doctor’s referral.
Contact our team today for more information about our high-quality therapy services or to schedule a complimentary screening.