Sports Massage is a form of massage involving the manipulation of soft tissue (skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia) to benefit a person engaging in regular physical activity.
The Benefits of Sports Massage
Sports massage benefits people who exercise by assisting in the processes of overcompensation and adaptation. How the body overcompensates depends on the type of stress placed on it. Training programmes aimed at specific sports will lead to adaptations in specific areas in order to withstand a particular type of physical stress demanded by that sport. For example, a sprinter will have a training programme which allows them to produce bursts of explosive power over short distances whereas a long distance runner will have a training programme more focused on endurance.
The manipulation of soft tissue prior to and after exercises promotes physical, physiological, neurological and psychological changes that aid performance and especially recovery. Some benefits include:
- the release of muscle tension and pain
- the removal of waste products such as acetic acid and carbon dioxide
- reduced discomfort from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
- improved posture and flexibility
Who can benefit from sports massage?
Anyone who engages in regular physical activity can benefit from sports massage – irrespective of age, level of fitness or level of training. Athletes with injuries or specific problems that are inhibiting performance will find that the stimulatory effects of sports massage encourage the healing process. Recreational and competitive athletes following a regular training programme will benefit from sports massage during recovery, and through early detection of problems arising from the physical stress of training. Athletes engaging in sporting events or competitions can benefit before, during and after the event, depending on whether the need is for the release of muscle tension, relief from soreness, relaxation, etc.
Is sports massage a recognised form of therapy?
Sports massage is becoming widely embraced by athletes, sports scientists, coaches and industry bodies as a means of enhancing performance, aiding recovery and preventing injury. Most teams and prominent athletes will have a team of therapists, including sports massage therapists, that travel with them to competitions.
How is sports massage different from other types of massage?
While other forms of massage, such as Swedish, or holistic massage, have some aims in common with sports massage – such as physical and mental relaxation – sports massage is specifically designed to assist active people in their sport or fitness activities. A sports massage therapist is primarily concerned with:
- muscular and skeletal alignment
- how exercise affects the body systems
- how massage can promote or reduce these effects for the benefit of the athlete
Many of the aims of sports massage, such as injury prevention and the promotion of recovery from exercise, are therefore quite different to other forms of massage.
I don’t do any sports but still feel like I could use a massage, is sports massage right for me?
Sports massage isn’t just for sports people. As a sports massage therapist I can adapt my style to suit your specific needs so if it’s deep tissue massage or swedish massage that you would prefer, just let me know.
To find out more about sports massage in Elephant and Castle or to make an appointment, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07534 933516.
(This blog references information from The Complete Guide to Sports Massage by Tim Paine)