Sports Massage All Summed Up!
Sports massage is one of the most popular treatment methods for both sport and non-sporting related injuries. It is widely used throughout the medical, healthcare and fitness field and considered an essential part of a practitioner’s tool kit.
Many elite athletes consider this to be an essential part of their routine to assist their training, conditioning, recovery and performance.
Many sedentary individuals and desk workers use sports massage regularly too.
It is often considered an ‘MOT’ for the body to prevent further issues from developing.
But are there benefits of having a sports massage? Does it actually help?
The short answer is YES, WITHOUT A DOUBT!
Benefits of Sports Massage:
There are various benefits of sports massage that are both physiological and psychological. Although within the current available research there is limited evidence, good clinical results have been proven time and time again! The benefits overlap and are not mutually exclusive; one benefit often leads to the other as you will find out by reading below…
Sports massage can have the following benefits:
Improved Flexibility & Reduced Muscular Tension:
Quite often with high levels of training or being very sedentary, or through injury muscles can begin to tighten and shorten. This can place restrictions on your range of motion, which then becomes a circular process and it just becomes more and more problematic- how often do you feel stiff or tense through your back, hips, hamstrings or calves?
As you might know, muscles work as pairs. So as one muscle becomes tight and short, another may become lengthened/ taut and be placed under increased tension.
A sports massage can help to alleviate adhesions and trigger points in your tissue and improve the pliability of your tissue; this can assist in correcting muscle imbalances allowing you to move more freely!
Reduction in Pain:
Muscular pain can often be attributed to myofascial trigger point (MTrP) formation (as mentioned above). This can be described as a zone of intense pain, caused by a hard nodule within a taut band of tissue. It is usually an area of metabolic stress that causes hyper-irritability, tenderness or sensitivity, and can give rise to referred pain. As one trigger point forms, this can lead to the development of satellite trigger points- so again the problem may worsen.
The reduction of trigger points and decrease in muscular tightness or tension often leads to a reduction in muscular pain.
Improved Circulation & Stronger Flow of Oxygenated Blood:
When your muscles become tight, this may cause a restriction in your blood vessels that carry vital blood flow, oxygen and essential nutrients to the muscles. Sports massage encourages better venous return, which assists with the removal of metabolites such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid through your lymphatic system, and a better return of blood flow to the heart ensures a better flow of fresh, oxygenated blood to the working muscles.
Reduced Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) & Enhanced Recovery:
If you don’t know what DOMS are, then are you training hard enough? DOMS is that painful and stiff feeling you often get a day or two after exercise- particularly on leg day!
As mentioned above, sports massage helps to flush out metabolic waste within the tissue, which is found to be one to the main causes of DOMS, along with the microscopic tears that are induced with high volumes of training. Thereby helping you to recover from your exercise, training or competition quicker.
Reduced Swelling & Inflammation: Through the mechanisms mentioned above such as the improved circulation and lymphatic function; sports massage when used appropriately can assist with the reduction of swelling associated with injury and over-activity.
This can also promote healing by promoting the deposition of new tissue.
Please note that you should not have a sports massage within the first 24-48 hours of sustaining an acute injury, as this can actually worsen swelling and inflammation.
Reduced Stress & Enhanced Mood:
Having a massage often leads to the release of endorphins- the ‘feel good’ hormone that is also often released with exercise. This can result in increased relaxation and reduced tension. A sports massage, through improved circulation can also lead to reduced blood pressure and heart rate, which also reduces stress.
Improved Athletic /Sports Performance & INJURY PREVENTION: Less pain, more flexibility, increased range of motion, correction of muscle imbalances, more oxygenated blood available to the working muscles… It’s difficult to argue that this isn’t a recipe for improved performance and reducing the risk of injury!
Many injuries, particularly in the active are the result of tissue overuse, which results in sore, stiff, painful and inflamed muscles. Sports massage can help prevent this from happening in the first place!
What does sports massage involve?
Sports massage involves a range of techniques that vary in purpose, and their uses should be carefully selected to meet the requirements of the individual in order to ensure optimal recovery, promotion of tissue healing and reduction in pain.
There are four primary techniques:
Effleurage- A lighter technique that involves long, sweeping strokes, often used to encourage lymphatic function or to warm the tissue for further soft tissue treatment.
Petrissage-Often involves kneading, rolling or compression of the tissue with a deeper pressure to alleviate tension and tightness.
Tapotement- A rhythmic percussion/tapping on the tissue designed to increase tissue and nervous system excitability, usually performed prior to training and competition.
Frictions- Involves a deeper pressure and small circular movements or movements against the direction of the tissue fibres which is designed to loosen knots, reduce excessive scar tissue, and promote tissue healing.
When should I consider booking a massage, and how often should I have one?
If you are experiencing pain, have an injury or simply feel stiff and achy or perhaps feeling stressed- then you will benefit from having a sports massage!
There’s no rule or secret formula for how often you should have a sports massage and it is entirely dependent on the extent of your injury or ailment.
Various lifestyle factors also need to be considered, such as occupation, frequency/intensity/duration of exercise and training, what sport(s) you participate in, or how sedentary you might be.
As mentioned above; a sports massage can be viewed as an ‘MOT’ for the body.
It is widely recommended that in the interest of soft tissue maintenance and injury prevention that you have a sports massage on a monthly basis, particularly if you exercise or train 2-3 times per week or have a sedentary occupation.
If you are interested in trying a sports massage for the first time or your next sports massage is well over due- then now is the perfect time to book yours!
At Peak Performance Therapy we are offering £10 OFF ALL SPORTS MASSAGE SERVICES THROUGHOUT JULY!
To book your Sports Massage, click on the below link or the 'BOOK NOW' button on the home page.
If you are interested in taking your training, recovery and performance more seriously, you can also get a huge discount by purchasing a sports massage package- yours to use at your convenience with complete flexibility- no timeline, no limits, no pain!
6 for the price of 5
12 for the price of 10
24 for the price of 20
All available as 30, 60 & 90 minute sessions.
To enquire about block sessions, email email@example.com
The first 5 people to purchase their sports massage package will also receive a FREE back pain rehabilitation plan!
Stay healthy, Stay active, Stay injury free.
Peak Performance Therapy Ltd