Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

Five benefits of manual therapy for athletes

Benefits of Manual Therapy

As an athlete, it’s vital that you maintain optimal health if you want to keep playing the sport you love. But far too many athletes end up with injuries that derail their season. 

Medical researchers estimate that 8.6 million sports and recreational injuries occur annually in the U.S. Physical therapists can do a lot to help you treat and prevent sports injuries. Of the multiple physical therapy techniques that can benefit athletes, one of the most beneficial is a technique called manual therapy, or hands-on therapy. Here are five of the benefits that manual therapy can offer:

  1. Improved circulation

Regular manual therapy during your physical therapy program can benefit you by improving circulation considerably. Better circulation means that your muscles get the blood supply needed to prevent stiffness and tension. This can help your muscles feel less painful and promote post-exercise recovery. 

  1. Improved immune system response

Sickness can be extra hard on athletes. Just one bad cold or flu can keep you out of the game you love for weeks. You might feel less than your best for quite a while after that, too. Fortunately, hands-on therapy can offer the benefit of boosting your immune system. During soft tissue mobilization, your body is prompted to power up its natural cytotoxic capacity. Basically, this means that you’ll be better able to fight off illness-causing germs more effectively.

  1. Decreased scar tissue

When you’re injured, your body forms adhesions, bands of tough scar tissue, around the injury. These adhesions can restrict your movement and cause serious pain. In addition, they can delay your recovery if they’re not treated. 

Your physical therapist can use manual therapy to deal with adhesions efficiently. They can use specific targeted techniques that break up the adhesions, which unbinds your muscles. This is an important component of your physical therapy program because being adhesion-free is important for both pain relief and for your range of motion.

  1. Muscle relaxation

Muscle relaxation is likely the best-known benefit of manual therapy, but it takes on a whole new importance for an athlete. Muscle soreness, tightness and pain are all things that you expect as an athlete. The good news is that you can greatly decrease these issues with regular hands-on therapy sessions. Even after you’ve completed a physical therapy program following an injury, you may want to consider having manual therapy sessions to relax your muscles.

  1. Improved posture

Hands-on therapy can also significantly benefit your posture. It’s intended to bring your body into an optimal place of alignment, which 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. This means that you’re playing your sport with a bit of a natural advantage built in.

Find beneficial manual therapy at Peak Performance

Want to try manual therapy and see how it can benefit you? Our therapy specialists at Peak Performance can use this and other therapy methods to assist athletes. We offer free screenings that can reveal injuries and underlying issues affecting your athletic performance. Our team also excels at constructing personalized physical therapy plans for athletes that can include manual therapy and other techniques like: 

Contact us today for more information about how we can help athletes or to schedule your initial appointment.