You’re working hard to stay in top condition. How can you maximize your workouts? Give your body the targeted sports massage. Think about the professional athletes, what do you often see? sports massage, Why? because it works and you can notice subtle differences that can help prevent injury.

But these aren’t “spa treatments” Sports massages can consist of some heavy-duty manipulation techniques, including deep-tissue work and stretching, so they’re not always relaxing. They can be even a little intense, but the science behind massage can translate to serious gains in your workouts. Here, four reasons you should consider it.

1. Boost Your Circulation: Oxygenated blood is your muscles’ power supply, and new research suggests that massage can help those fuel lines work better. Blood vessels that function properly are flexible and have the ability to dilate, or widen, on demand when muscle and other tissues are in need of more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood during and after exercise,and thus suggest massage may stimulate those vessels to be at the top of their game so your muscles get max juice just when they need it.

2. Feel Less Sore: After a workout, there’s an inflammatory response in the muscles you just used, your body speeds blood to patch micro-tears in those muscle fibers, accompanied by stress. Too much stress and your muscles can’t fire as fast, as long, or as forcefully the next day or two. But massage may dampen the stress effect by lessening the severity of the inflammatory response. People who received massages reported nearly half the soreness level compared with those who didn’t.

3. Move More Freely: Anyone who’s experienced tight hamstrings knows that some exercises can be difficult when your movement is restricted. That’s a sign that the fascia sheath is not allowing for a full range of motion in the hamstring and thus by releasing the tight or restricted areas, you’ll improve your flexibility and mobility. That, in turn, might allow you to run with less effort, lift weights with more control, or just exercise a little longer.