As we’ve written in past entries, sports massage can be extremely beneficial to all athletes as massage therapy targeted to key areas of the body can help improve an athlete’s range of motion and flexibility, helping to reduce the chance of serious injury.
This would make its application to baseball seem obvious, as improved flexibility and range of motion would help fielders, batters and pitchers in their performance. But a little more research into the subject of baseball and sports massage shows just how helpful the modality is for the sport.
For example, in just the past month, two pitchers for Chicago baseball teams (the White Sox and Cubs) have specifically called out sports massage therapists as a reason for them being able to remain healthy and play through injuries (click here or here). This makes sense when considering that massage therapy helps to increase circulation, allowing for improved flows of nutrients and a better removal of lactic acid, which, in turn, leads to less soreness and a quicker recovery from strenuous athletic activity.
Another article, this one in the publication Massage Today, covers the work experience of the massage therapist for the Chicago White Sox during the team’s 2005 World Series championship run. In the article, the therapist says players credited him for relieving levels of pain from their injuries, keeping them healthy throughout the year, and even allowing them to see the ball better when hitting.
The therapist in the article thought that it was improved flexibility and a release of endorphins that made the hitter feel that he could see the ball better. Regardless, the player – Frank Thomas – saw his hitting numbers drastically improve after he started receiving regular massage therapy.
That ought to make any baseball player – professional or recreational – seriously consider the benefits of sports massage.