Whether you’re a bunny slope newbie or a double black diamond pro, skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy winter. But nursing a twisted ankle or bad back does not make for an enjoyable après ski experience.
If you want to stay injury-free while enjoying long days out on the slopes this ski season, consider massage therapy. Massage can be a great solution for your aching muscles after a hard day of skiing, and can improve your athletic performance to (ski) boot.
We all know that a week spent happily shredding fresh powder comes with its own set of aches and pains. Sometimes ignoring those pains for too long can even lead to more serious injuries. It’s important to stop pain in the early stages to prevent it from becoming a bigger problem, and massage can help you do just that.
Common Skiing Injuries
Although skiing is quite popular around the world, it’s one of the most injury-riffic recreational sports that Americans engage in on a regular basis. The most common skiing mishap is knee injury—accounting for about 35% of all skiing related injuries—often caused by a twisting motion while falling. Upper body injuries like sprained thumbs and shoulder injuries are also all too common.
Injury Prevention for Skiers
There are a variety of ways to prevent injuries on the slopes. Enhancing your fitness level before ski season will help with flexibility, strength, and balance (fewer wipeouts = fewer injuries).
Regardless, you’re still likely to have sore spots and aches from the physical rigor of a hard day of skiing. So, what can you do to speed up your recovery time and prevent major injury?
Benefits of Massage for Skiers
Massage therapy has a long list of benefits for skiers who want to recuperate quickly so they can get back out and perform their best on the powder. In fact, getting a massage in the middle of a typical ski week could be just the tune-up that your body needs to run at its optimal level. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, research shows that massage therapy can:
1. Decrease muscles soreness and tension
Sports massage helps you relax those tired muscles after a hard day skiing.
2. Reduce recovery time from an injury
Deep tissue massage promotes muscle healing after strenuous activity, allowing you to get back on the slopes sooner.
3. Improve muscle flexibility
Massage can make you more limber, which can help prevent common skiing injuries.
4. Improve circulation
5. Improve joint range of motion
Sports massage techniques target tissues and ligaments around joints, providing you with more mobility when chasing your buddy down the slope.
6. Increase relaxation and improve sleep quality
You’ll rest easy after a soothing massage post-ski, according to AMTA research.
7. Reduce anxiety
The calming effect of massage can also alleviate any anxiety you may be dealing with, like paying for that speeding ticket you got on the way to the ski resort.
8. Lower blood pressure
You can improve your heart health with stress-busting Swedish massage.
9. Improve proprioception (awareness of body positioning)
Sports massage techniques can help improve your body awareness, essential for when you’re flying past trees, bunny slope skiers, or other obstacles on the slopes.
10. Promote connective tissue healing
With a faster recovery time, you can look forward to getting back on your skis the day after a massage.
Types of Massage for Skiers
Skiers can benefit from a variety of massage specialties, including deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, and sports massage. Pre-ski trip massage can help warm the muscles up and ensure they are loose and ready to function their best. Post-ski massage is an essential tool for relieving muscle and joint soreness.
While you’re planning that annual ski trip with your friends to Vail, Park City, or Tahoe, be sure to book everyone a massage after a day out on the slopes. Your friends—and your tired muscles—will be sure to thank you for it.