Benefits of Sports Massage
Before you consider the possible benefits of sports massage, you need to appreciate that it isn't just for sports people or for people who are injured. It offers many benefits for uninjured people who are aiming to improve their overall health and wellbeing along with any sporting performance they wish to enhance.
The primary reason for sports massage therapy is usually to support the reduction of tension and stress which accumulates in the body’s soft tissues during the course of training. Wherever minor injuries and wounds occur, as a result of over exertion or excessive use, massage can easily break them down rapidly and efficiently. Most importantly, it will also help reduce those little incidents that usually get in the way of overall performance and success, no matter whether you are a sports person, hardcore keep-fitter or a weekly jogger.
What is Sports Massage?
Sports massage is targeted on the treatment of the soft tissues. The goal is to aid recuperation from training or injury or to warm-up and relax just before exercising or competition. It isn’t a brand-new speciality and the methods employed have been enhanced through the years by different physical therapists including physiotherapists, osteopaths and even medical professionals. Even so, these professionals usually do not have the necessary time to treat soft tissue injury and this is actually when a sport massage therapist is advantageous.
What does a session involve?
Therapeutic sports massage techniques incorporate warming-up with effleurage techniques, relaxation and getting ready for the much deeper tissue work or petrissage. Along with rubbing, compressions, longitudinal and cross-fibre friction as well as tapotement (cupping or slapping for stimulation). As a specialist I also use some advance soft tissue release methods to improve flexibility, myofascial releases, neuro-muscular and muscle energy techniques all with the aim of restoring and improving your body.
The benefits of sports massage
There currently exists a great deal of evidence for the benefits of sports massage along with its effectiveness in treating injuries although admittedly in some cases we don’t fully understand the more esoteric mechanisms as to why it’s so effective. The main areas that sports massage benefits people are;
Continual improvement is the reason you train in the dead of winter, hammer up the hills on the bike, do track work, and train in the pouring rain. Well, that is the same reason you should get a good sports massage. After a massage you'll feel lighter, more powerful and more flexible, and all those nagging aches and pains can be addressed, helping to reduce the likelihood of injury.
One of the best reasons to get a sports massage is to help your muscles, tendons and joints move through their proper range of motion and stay in optimum shape. It's just like that pre-workout warm-up you're supposed to do. You want your muscles to be pliable and your joints warmed up before your exercise.
Many injuries are brought about by overusing certain muscles. This can result in soreness, pain and inflammation. 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.
It can also help reduce the chance of injury recurrence. Massage is most effective at treating soft-tissues injuries such as strains, sprains and stress injuries.
Massage has been known to reduce pain from recovering injuries or tight muscle areas. Massage promotes proper healing of scar tissues and can provide a soothing effect on injured areas.
Relaxation and Focus
Sports Massage can help decrease stress and increase focus, putting you in a good psychological state before your next race. The brisk movements of the massage can also leave you feeling invigorated.
Massage can help hasten the healing and recovery process after an intense race by dissolving waste fluids such as lactic acid.
How often should you get a sports massage?
On average, you should get one massage per week or a minimum of one per month. That may seem extreme, particularly if a trip to the spa is more of an indulgence for you. But, massages go a long way to help prevent injury.
People respond in different ways to a massage so if you have the luxury to try one at different times in your training then determine what is right for you. However, the majority of people will tend to favour the post-race/post-long workout time more. Both are beneficial but the pre-race massage will stimulate your muscles whereas the post-race massage is more of a cool-down/recovery massage.