What is Sports Massage And Is It Right For Me?
Sports Massage is a deeper, therapeutic type massage that is tailored to your area of pain or injury. Despite what the name might suggest, sports massage is not only utilised by sports people, it is of benefit to anyone looking for therapeutic relief, like desk workers with upper back and neck pain or someone with low back issues from lifting or carrying awkwardly.
People of all ages, occupations and sporting backgrounds can benefit from this type of therapy. The aim of a sports massage is to reduce specific pain, tension and restriction in the musculoskeletal system and balance out the body, having an effect on the circulation, nervous and lymphatic systems.
What can I expect during a Sports Massage appointment?
The initial session should normally consist of a case history, postural assessment, treatment and home care advice:
- The case history will involve asking questions about any areas of pain or tension they may be coming in with.
- The postural assessment will be done standing and consist of the practitioner looking for any imbalances in the clients posture, such as spinal curves, shoulder and pelvic heights, rounded shoulders, as well as checking movements in the relevant areas to find out if you have any restrictions or tightness in the muscles or joints.
- The treatment is based on the findings in the assessment and will consist of sports massage techniques (shown below) on any tight muscles and restricted joints as well as techniques to correct any postural imbalances so the client leaves feeling more aligned.
- Following the treatment, stretches, exercises and any other tips or advice will be given to help the client manage and reduce the pain and tension themselves at home.
What can Sports Massage help me with?
Sports Massage can help with the recovery from and correction of a wide range of pains and injuries, including:
- Neck, back and shoulder pain
- Hip, knee, ankle and foot pain
- Elbow, wrist and hand pain
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Work-related aches and pains
- Sporting injuries
- Postural aches and pains
Sports Massage is also incredibly helpful in adjusting and helping your body to avoid undue injuries in the first place. Similarly, Sports Massage is also a great for physical maintenance to maintain flexibility to stop problems reoccurring.
How else will I benefit from Sports Massage?
In addition to tackling specific injuries and issues, Sport Massage will give you a substantial and noticeable boost to your physical and mental wellbeing through:
- Reduction in muscle tension and spasm
- Reduction in pain and muscle soreness
- Increase in blood flow, circulation and lymphatic drainage, which causes waste products or toxins to be flushed out, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid and increases oxygen and nutrients to the muscles
- Increase in flexibility, mobility or range of motion of joints
- Improved performance during exercise by increasing endurance and force of contraction of muscles
- Improved mood and decreased symptoms of stress and anxiety
- Release of hormones such as enkephalin and endorphins which increase feelings of well-being and are natural analgesics/pain-relievers
- Improved sleep and increased energy levels
What techniques can I expect from my Sports Massage?
As a treatment completely tailored to your body and your circumstances, Sports Massage incorporates and combines and number of very specific techniques and methods to achieve the desired result. These include:
- Deep tissue massage – relieves severe tension in the muscles
- Soft tissue release – direct pressure to relax muscles and over tightened groups of connective tissues
- Myofascial release – physically stretching out connective tissues to return it to its correct pattern
- Neuromuscular technique – constantly applied pressure on skeletal muscles to improve circulation, posture and relieve trapped nerves
- Trigger point therapy – massage and treatment of specific areas of muscle knots to relieve spasms and referred pain
- Muscle energy technique – uses the muscles own contractions to enhance the muscle’s mobility and flexibility
- Stretching – to provide overall unwinding of tightness is specific muscular groups
- Positional release – specific holds when the muscle is relaxed to restore regular muscle mobility
Sport Massage can provide you much more far reaching benefits than you might expect. By tailoring a wide range of techniques specifically for your circumstances, it can be the right treatment whether you are trying to recover from an injury, affected by an acute issue or suffering from a chronic condition.