What is Sports Massage & how does it help?
Sports massage is the manipulation of soft tissue to release tension, reduce pain, restore range of movement and promote good condition. Soft tissue is connective tissue that has not hardened into bone and cartilage; it includes skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia (a form of connective tissue that lines and ensheathes the other soft tissues).
A Sports Massage treatment uses a combination of techniques, with deep pressure pinpointing pain to relaxing stretches. It’s not what we would describe as relaxing, it’s more revitalising and better for long term relief from pain and injury
There are 4 types of sports massage
Short stimulating massage 15-45 minutes before. It is directed toward the parts of the body that will be involved in the exertion.
Given within an hour or two of the event, to normalise the body’s tissues.
Given during training to allow the athlete to train harder and with less injury.
Aimed at alleviating pain due to injury and returning the body to health.
Sports massage has immediate physiological benefits. It works to eliminate tension and waste products that can cause you pain. Massage also assists your body to release endorphins, which will give you a natural high.
In addition sports massage will aid your body’s circulation, and will warm and stretch your muscles, giving you improved flexibility and a reduced risk of injury. This will give you a feeling of deep relaxation.
There are also important psychological effects of massage. After your massage is over, the relaxation induced will help reduce anxiety and leave you feeling fresh and energised. Massage has been very effective in reducing depression and it can also bolster your immune system. Sports Massage is also great for relieving pain brought on by some illnesses and conditions. Deep massage and stretching techniques would be beneficial for those with chronic back pain, fibromyalgia and migraine sufferers to name a few.
You might not be an athlete or sportsperson but you may be putting your body through stress on a daily basis, probably without realising it. Many our us spend our days hunched in front of a computer. Everyday activities such as DIY, gardening, or playing a musical instrument can also cause unexpected strains and injuries.
Although sports massage was developed for individuals active in sporting competition, its techniques are also invaluable for us non-athletes to help us through our daily lives.