The pleasure and pain of a sports massage

You’ve heard of a sports massage, but what is it? What does it involve? Why should I have one?

What is a sports massage?
The Sports Massage Association defines sports massage as “the application of soft tissue techniques with the aim of managing, manipulating and rehabilitating muscles, tendons and ligaments”

A sports massage targets tight muscles, helps inactive muscles and improves the condition of your soft tissue.  It helps your body to recover when you’re well and is also good if you have an injury, as it can break down scar tissue.

A sports massage is a no-nonsense massage that can feel pretty deep and intense.  It uses a combination of techniques including:
Trigger point therapy

All with the aim of targeting congested tissues, active and inactive muscles, removing pain or injury, relaxing particular muscles, increasing flexibility and helping improve motion and movement.

Is it just for sporty types?
No! Although many people that come to us for sports massage do play sport, many are regular people who don’t play much, or any, sport.  Many of us carry around “stress” in our bodies. This can be from sitting in one position for too long, or having general aches and pains. Everyone can benefit from a sports massage as it helps free muscle tension.

Why do it if I am sporty?
If you take part in sport regularly or you’re spending a lot of your time training, then a sports massage can really help your body. Because of the impact massage has on your muscles, nerve endings, circulation and soft tissue, it helps your body to recover and repair itself between your training sessions.

It can also help if you have a strain or injury as it can remodel scar tissue. If you have an injury give us a call on 020 3589 8664 to see if sports massage would be suitable.

When should I have a sports massage?
If you’re training there are three types of sports massage:

1)    Pre or post-event sports massage
If you have a run coming up then consider having a pre event massage. Sometimes these are available at the event.  The aim here is to have a quick massage that prepares your muscles and joints for the event.

Post-event massage is a gentle massage to ease your tired muscles and help prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

2)    Maintenance massage
If you’re training having massage as part of your training schedule can help ward of injury, and keep your body in its best possible shape.  A regular massage will help your body improve any imbalances, loosen tight muscles and improve your circulation. This will contribute towards improving your performance and treating minor injuries before they become major injuries.

3)    Rehabilitation
Sports massage can be really beneficial for soft tissue injuries as it breaks down scar tissue and relieves tight muscles. Some people swear by them for post sport strains.

Does sports massage hurt?
If you haven’t had a sports massage before, you may feel some soreness the next day.  This is due to your body adjusting to the pressure that was applied during the massage, eg loosening muscle tissue and working on any knots.  However, the soreness will disappear and then you will feel much, much better.

Many people say they feel more relaxed after treatment.

What are the benefits of a sports massage?
A sports massage can have many benefits.  At Royal Arsenal and Slade Osteopathic Practices we have three sports massage therapists – Ryland Culling, Magdalena Lisney and Sigita Beliunaite.

Ryland says, “My clients tell me that sports massage helps with any pain they were feeling, and improves their flexibility. This is because the massage helps to stretch the muscle fibres to a more desirable point, which allows more functionality. I also get feedback that because the muscle fibres are looser, people feel more relaxed and some see an improvement in the quality of their sleep.”

Magdalena says, “Massage helps maintain the body in better condition, reduce tightness and restores mobility to injured muscle tissues. In addition is opens up your micro circulation by stretching and opening the smallest blood vessels in your body, so nutrients are able to pass through more easily.”

For Sigita, she finds that massage works best for “relieving tight muscles, improving mobility, and decreasing the level of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. It really does make people feel more relaxed. I’ve noticed too that it helps my clients with their posture.”

Sports massage has many benefits for people involved in sport, and those who want a treatment for their aches and pains.

To make an appointment with Ryland, Magdalena or Sigita, please call us on 020 3589 8664. We’re open throughout the week, including evenings.

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