SPORTS MASSAGE – NOT JUST FOR ATHLETES
Sports massage is an essential part of any athlete’s toolkit, helping to keep them in top form as they train and compete, improving performance and boosting recovery. But sports massage isn’t just for athletes!
The name sports massage can sometimes be off-putting for people, especially those who don’t consider themselves to be at all ‘sporty’ – why would they need to have a sports massage?
Whether you train to an olympic standard, compete in sports for fun, visit the gym on the regular or never set foot near the place – sports massage can help you. We all experience aches, pains and muscle tightness from time to time. Back, neck and shoulder pain are all common complaints of sedentary office workers, new mums and older people. Sports massage can help to relieve all of these issues, help you to prevent injury, relieve muscle pain and increase mobility, you don’t need to have an active sporting injury to make use of the services of a sports massage therapist.
WHAT IS SPORTS MASSAGE?
Sports massage differs from the kind of ‘relaxing’ superficial massages usually performed at spas and beauty salons, although there is some commonality in certain techniques used such as the long deep effleurage techniques to warm the muscles and petrissage to mobilise the muscles.
Sports massage is a more intensive and focused style of massage therapy, using advanced techniques such as myofascial release, soft tissue release and muscle energy techniques to treat not just the muscles but all the other soft tissues, such as the ligaments and tendons at the joints and the fascia connecting the muscles as well. Relieving the tension that is often stored in these areas.
Sports massage is a more ‘interactive’ style of massage with the therapist often asking you to move and be involved in techniques involving stretching and release. That’s not to say sports massage can’t be relaxing, but relaxation isn’t always the primary aim during a sports massage session.
Once you’ve experienced the relief and benefits a sports massage can bring, you will wonder why you ever hesitated… Below are ten great reasons to have a sports massage!
BENEFITS OF SPORTS MASSAGE
Sports massage helps your muscles, tendons and joints stay in good condition by easing tensions and improving quality and range of motion. This in turn can help to prevent injuries as tight, tense muscles and joints are more prone to being overused and inflamed leading to injuries, strains and sprains. Regularly scheduled sports massages can help reduce the likelihood of the muscles becoming overused in the first place and can also help reduce the initial inflammation that leads to injury.
Sports massage can release tight areas of muscle and stretch the muscles and their soft tissues in all directions – improving their flexibility. Advanced techniques such as soft tissue release and muscle energy techniques can help to improve the quality of motion in a muscle or joint, correct imbalances and allow for a greater range of mobility.
Sports massage helps to reduce pain from injuries and tight muscles. Massage promotes proper healing of scar tissues and can provide a soothing effect on injured areas. It is also great for relieving pain brought on by certain illnesses and conditions, the kind of deep massage, tension release and stretching techniques used in sports massage can be very beneficial for those suffering from chronic back pain, fibromyalgia and migraine.
Stress can lead to the body holding tension in the muscles, often around the upper body and shoulders, which can in turn lead to tension headaches. As well as physcially relieving the tightness of the muscles, the body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemicals – endorphins are released during sports massage. These help to decrease anxiety, provide pain relief, improve mood and enhance well-being.
Scar tissue breakdown
As an injury heals scar tissue forms, in this tissue the collagen fibres are laid down haphazardly and form harder, less pliable areas of tissue within the muscle body or around the joints. This scar tissue can decrease the flexibility of a muscle or joint. Sports massage helps to breakdown old scar tissue and encourage it to become more soft and pliable, as well as positively influencing the healing of any new injury by encouraging the scar tissue to form in the same direction as the muscle fibres.
Overworked, tight or injured muscles often suffer from reduced circulation, preventing the easy flow of blood and nutrients to the muscle tissue, which in turn can make the healing process longer. Sports massage improves blood flow to the muscles which helps to keep them well oxygenated and in good condition. Blood vessels dilate and membrane pores widen during the massage, which allows better oxygen passage. This oxygen and nutrient rich blood improves tissue health and aids in healing and repair.
Decrease muscle soreness
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness also referred to as ‘DOMS’, is the discomfort experienced in muscles a day or two after a hard training session. Massage strokes that encourage lymphatic drainage will increase blood and lymph flow throughout the body, helping to prevent muscle fatigue and encourage better oxygenation. Sports massage improves tissue permeability allowing nutrients and oxygen to reach the cells quickly. Waste products such as lactic acid can be efficiently removed and prevent muscle soreness.
Help improve posture
Long days sitting at desks, hunched over laptops or mobile phones can lead to changes in posture which can be a major source of discomfort. ‘Text neck’, tension headaches and back pain can be just some of the side effects of our working style. Too long spent in a seated posture can cause muscles to shorten and tighten, pulling joints into positions which over time can reduce function and increase chances of overuse and repetitive strain injuries. Sports massage can aid in releasing tight muscles and help to counteract the negative effects on your posture of too much time working at a desk.
Despite the more intense nature of a Sports massage, it can be a relaxing experience. Sports Massage can help decrease stress and increase focus, putting you in a good psychological state. By increasing the circulation, warming the muscles, releasing areas of tension and soothing the nerve endings the body will naturally feel more relaxed post-treatment.
Lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on recovery and stress, leaving you feeling tired, drained, and unfocused. If you are regularly exercising but not getting good quality sleep then you won’t be able to maximize the effectiveness of your workout, as recovery and muscle building are done during rest. Lack of sleep can also cause poor cognitive function and a weakened immune system. Sports massage can encourage the body into a more relaxed state and ease the tensions that may be contributing to sleeplessness, allowing for longer and better quality rest.
Whether you have a current injury, general aches and pains or just want a relaxing massage, our sports massage service is for you.
Sports massage is available at the following clinics:
Aligned for Life Chiropractic,
1st Floor (Bank Chambers),
2 Bridge Street,
Clinic opening hours:
Wednesday 9am – 7pm
Saturday 9.30am – 1pm
The Treatment Rooms @ Very Yoga
1b Church Street,
Clinic opening hours:
Friday 9am – 6pm
Mobile Sports Massage
If you prefer a massage in the comfort of your own home – we can offer a mobile sports massage service for you. We cover the Leatherhead and Reigate area, that includes Ashtead, Bookham, Brockham, Cobham, Dorking, Effingham, Esher, Epsom, Fetcham, Guildford, Horsely, Nutfield, Oxshott, Reedhill and Surbiton. If your town isn’t listed please just drop us a note. I bring everything needed to you, so no need to travel to deal with those little (or large) aches and pains!