The Ultimate Guide to Sports Massage: What You Need to Know.
Sports massage is one of the most effective ways of reducing aches and pains,
especially if you're a recreational runner or sports person.
The scientific benefits and effectiveness of sports massages are well documented, the most commonly noted is a reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS),
improved sleep and flexibility not to mention the reduction in stress.
What are the benefits of getting a sports massage?
1. Increased muscle recovery
All forms of regular exercise place significant stress on the muscles, tendons and Ligaments leading to micro-tears and the accumulation of metabolic waste from the damaged tissue,
Sports massage can help reduce muscle soreness and increase blood and lymphatic circulation promoting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients and cellular exchange.
2. Aid injury prevention
‘Regular sports massages can help to identify potential areas of tension or weakness within the musculoskeletal complex .
Addressing these issues early can aid in preventing the development of an injury.
3. Enhanced performance
One study which looked at the benefits of massage on the performance of bodybuilders, concluded that sports massage may impact performance in situations where sports massage is given at the point of muscle fatigue, almost acting as a recovery technique,
we call this a post sports massage.
Does a sports massage hurt?
This will very much depend upon how sore you actually are following your exercise and of course the nature of the issue being treated, which is why it is so important for you to communicate this to your therapist before begins.
Sports massage can vary in intensity and the level of discomfort can depend on an individual’s pain tolerance, some clients may prefer a deeper level of pressure, ones tolerance to pressure depends on how much experience one has in receiving sports massages.
Experienced therapists can customise your treatment plan, focusing on your specific needs whilst adjusting the pressure accordingly, without reducing the effectiveness of the outcome.
Why does deep tissue massage feel uncomfortable.
Deep tissue massage causes microtrauma to the muscle fibres.
which produces an inflammatory response, stimulating the release of metabolic waste products, thus a feeling of soreness.
When should you get a sports massage.
If you're a sports person at any level be that for recreational or professional , sports massage is an effective addition to a training schedule, treatment durations will vary according to when and why you require one, here's the four main types of treatment:
Maintenance massage (Rejuvenative)
Injury treatment (Rehabilitative)
Pre-event sports massage treatment.
The aim of a pre-event sports massage is to get the bodies tissues ready for the event or activity.
It Helps ward off injury by preparing muscles and joints for the race ahead and even help you perform in a more focussed way.
Best administered just before an event, always performed fast and not too deep so as to get your muscles ready.
Post-event sports massage treatment.
This sports massage treatment is always focused after an event and is a great way to soothe and ease fatigued and tired tissues and prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
The method follows a slow, rhythmical and gentle manner and it usually lasts for about 15-20 minutes.
Post-event treatments can be utilized to increase vascular exchange flushing the legs, and prompt circulation, aiming to reduce post-race soreness,
48-72 hours post-race allows for the natural recovery period where the body can settle, and a stronger massage can aid in addressing any lingering muscle soreness, tension and imbalance.
Maintenance sports massage.
This type of massage takes place in between training sessions where the aim is to work on specific elements and tissue structures which have become shortened, tight and painful.
The idea is to loosen off tightness within soft tissues so as to improve performance and prevent injury.
A variety of techniques can be used, ranging from deep tissue work, Trigger Point Therapy, Muscle Energy Technique and mobilisation of joints, to specific stretching and strengthening. A typical sports maintenance massage can last from 30 minutes to an hour and is a very helpful regular addition to a training programme, particularly if you're training for an endurance event, such as a half or full marathon.
Sports Injury treatment.
Sports massage can also be used in a more focussed, specific way to treat particular soft tissue injuries and a wide variety of techniques and methods can be used to reduce the recovery time and help get you back running.
This type of treatment can last from between 30 minutes to an hour, dependent on the injury.
What is the difference between a deep tissue massage and a sports massage.
A deep tissue massage ‘alleviates chronic muscle tension, relieves pain and improves mobility, It aims to improve posture and promote relaxation and is recommended for individuals with chronic pain, muscle tension and injuries resulting from poor posture, repetitive injury and overuse.
While a sports massage is primarily focused on ‘enhancing athletic performance, prevention and treating sports-related injuries.
It can improve flexibility, range of motion and muscle balance. It aids in reducing muscle tension, promoting faster recovery whilst addressing specific issues common to athletes, for example, muscle strains and tension.
What to expect during your sports massage and what to wear.
On your first visit expect to give a medical history as well as provide an account of how you have injured yourself and/or what you hope to gain from the visit.
The Therapist will then go through some questions to check that you have no contraindications to being treated,
Contraindications are conditions that the client may have that will prevent or restrict a treatment from being carried out.
This is typically followed by an examination, usually involving a basic postural analysis as well as active and passive examination.
The overall clinical picture will help formulate a treatment plan and based on this soft tissue techniques will be used to achieve the desired goal.
The Therapist should then explain the possible contr-actions that can occur during or after the treatment, some examples are: Mild Bruising, Redness due to increased blood circulation in the tissue, increased soreness, or pain, general sense of fatigue or tiredness,
Some people even experience a real sense of ill health, which is usually as a result of not drinking enough water so as to aid the detoxification process.
And finally remember, your body needs time to heal so be realistic with your expectations regarding your recovery, The Therapist may advise more than one treatment depending upon the nature of your injury, your age and your general state of health,
All professional Therapists will refer you for further investigations before proceeding,
if they feel your injury or condition fall outside of their range of expertise.