Can Massage Improve your Golf Game?
By Jennifer Romero
Have you noticed that you play a better round of golf when you are on vacation? That your swing improves when you are relaxed? That hitting the links after a stressful day at work is a recipe for a high score and a sore back? Have you ever wondered why?
The easiest answer is that relaxed muscles move better. While some non-golfers don’t see the sport as a physical challenge, anyone who has swung a club for 18 holes knows the toll it can take on your body. A golf swing is an awkward motion; knees bent, leaning over the ball, twisting at the hips, transferring weight from one knee to the other. The muscles involved are moving in a way they don’t do in any other setting. Tension in any joint in the body can inhibit your swing. When a muscle is chronically tight it loses some power. There are only a certain number of muscle fibers available and when some of those are already tight due to stress or injury there are fewer remaining for your golf game. This leads to a decrease in range of motion and power.
What can you do to get some of that back? One way is by incorporating massage into your routine. A massage can be like a mini-vacation. It can induce the same feelings of relaxation, relieving some of the tension that causes muscles to be chronically taut. A massage therapist may also identify tight areas and help you perform some facilitated stretching. Less stress and more pliable muscles lead to greater range of motion, more power available for your swing and more control over fine muscles. Better control equals more accuracy on the course.
Because life happens, at some point you will experience an injury that will affect your golf game. What do you do then? Regular massage can help you heal faster and get back on the course sooner. Stress inhibits healing. By turning down the body’s stress response, massage puts you in a position to heal faster. Massage targeted for your specific injury will improve circulation to the injured area, helping the body bring important nutrients to damaged tissue. Your therapist can help identify what led to the injury and recommend appropriate stretches and strengthening exercises to prevent a recurrence.
Remember, golf is a physically challenging sport. In order to perform your best you need to feel your best. So before you hit the links next time, try a massage first. You’ll feel better, and you may even play better!