Sports massage is a popular treatment amongst athletes, although it is by no means limited to those who regularly train and play sports. It can be used to treat a range of conditions, aid relaxation and recovery, and is especially effective when incorporated into a regular training routine to maintain consistent performance and reduce the time spent out of action. Keep reading to learn more about what sports massage therapy entails, the many benefits, and whether sports massage is right for you.
Sports massage is a treatment involving deep soft tissue mobilisation and is widely used to treat sports injuries, improve muscle condition and flexibility. There is a wide range of massage techniques used within sports massage, and the treatment can be applied in a sporting and non-sporting context. Generally, sports massage is used to aid the general relaxation of the muscles and tends to be directed towards particular problem areas.
Often, physiotherapists incorporate sports massage into treatment plans for patients as it is proven to release muscle tension, break down scar tissue (adhesions), and reduce pain. Sports massage also improves circulation and encourages the removal of lactic acid build-up, making it an excellent treatment for speeding up recovery time. The relaxing aspects of the treatment can also help to prepare mentally for a sporting event.
Sports massage therapy offers many benefits and can be an extremely effective part of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. Before we explain further, here are some of the key benefits of sports massage:
Sports massage can help to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) by reducing muscle spasms, flushing out waste products like lactic acid, and increasing blood flow to the area. Increased blood flow in turn delivers oxygen and nutrients to the affected area, which speeds up the repair of damaged muscle tissue. The treatment helps the body to recover from stresses caused by exercise and supports the body’s rebuilding phase. The flushing out of waste products also contributes to better cell nutrition.
Tension in the muscles can also be treated by sports massage. Muscle tightness can limit flexibility, cause pain, and increase the likelihood of further injuries. A sports massage can help to increase the blood flow to tight muscles, soften inflexible tissues and stretch out muscle fibres for greater elasticity. Having regular sports massages for muscle tension can help to avoid injury and ensure you spend as little time as possible out of action.
Sports massage is an extremely effective treatment for elevating performance and maintaining a consistent level of activity. By helping the body to recover after exercise and supporting muscle conditioning, sports massage not only serves as a method of injury prevention but can psychologically prepare athletes for events by aiding relaxation and providing peace of mind. Regular massage can allow people to train and participate in sport more often.
The numerous benefits of sports massage make it a valuable and multi-faceted treatment for the relief of soreness, increasing flexibility and strength, and the support of mental wellbeing.
Hopefully by now we have helped to explain why sports massage at Total Physiotherapy, is not just a treatment limited to athletes. In fact, sports massage is an appropriate massage treatment for anyone who is in need of relief from muscle soreness or soft tissue mobilisation.
There may be several reasons why someone should consider sports massage therapy. We would recommend the treatment to:
If any of the above apply to you, sports massage may be extremely beneficial. The deep tissue massage provided by sports massage can help to address a range of problems caused by the demands of daily life, whether it’s competing at a high level, a physically demanding job, or even a job that requires you to sit at a desk all day.
Whether your goal is to enhance performance, or you simply want to ensure your muscles are as healthy as possible, sports massage is a treatment that can be appropriate to all.
Our experienced massage therapists practice a wide range of massage techniques, including:
Effleurage helps to warm up the muscle tissue by using a flushing procedure, promoting better circulation and lymphatic drainage. It creates a calming effect both physically and psychologically but can also be used as a stimulating technique depending on the intensity and speed of the application.
This technique involves lifting and squeezing actions to move and manipulate the muscle tissue in several ways with the aim of promoting elasticity within the muscles. Using alternating pressure with their hand strokes, the massage therapist exerts a pumping action on the underlying veins, speeding up blood flow so that waste products can be removed to make way for fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients.
A trigger point is a painful, hypersensitive spot found when massaging a muscle. These develop following trauma or when tension develops, and tissues are held in a shortened position over time. Trigger point technique involves applying direct pressure to deactivate trigger points to relieve muscle tightness. This releases fresh blood and restores optimum muscle function.
For this technique, the therapist uses the border of the hands to strike the tissues lightly and briskly. Hacking also increases blood circulation, stimulates, and softens areas of hard tissue, and stimulates reflex contraction of muscle fibres.
Sports massage can be extremely beneficial after sporting events such as a run or marathon, a football match, or a cycling race. The treatment can be equally effective after a workout or simply enjoyed regularly as part of an active lifestyle. Sports massage helps the body to return to its repair state more quickly and can calm the nervous system, so the treatment is often booked after an event or training to speed up recovery and encourage relaxation.
However, pre-event massage can also be effective for mental preparation and decreasing the chance of injury. Massage can be used to warm up the muscles prior to exercise and can increase flexibility before an event. We recommend noting that you may experience some soreness after your first massage session. So, if you’re considering sports massage for the first time it is advisable to book after an important sporting event, and not before.
If you need help with pain relief, muscle tension, and injury recovery, consider booking a sports massage appointment at one of our clinics. You can book with us online by visiting your local clinic page.