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The benefits from having Sports massage and from stretching are many and varied. Unfortunately, you can’t replace stretching with sports massage, but combining the two together can greatly help you progress with your stretching a lot faster and with less risk of getting injured. 
 
Massage can release trigger points and muscles in spasm, making your stretching routine more effective. During your massage appointment you also have the opportunity to ask your therapist for advice on injuries or muscle tightness. 
 
From having sports massage sessions you’ll also learn a lot about flexibility and suitable exercises, and your therapist will be able to provide you with the best stretching methods for your body. 

What are the differences between stretching and sports massage? 

Sports massage provides more temporary relief as whereas stretching can provide you with more long-term relief and performance improvement. 
Sports massage can be more beneficial during injuries due to the lack of ROM (Range of Motion) you may have. You may not be able to stretch in the first place due to the injury, so your therapist will be able to help manipulate the surrounding muscles to the injury for you and provide maintenance for your ROM meantime whilst your injury heals. 
When stretching is done properly, it’s more of a corrective exercise. 
During a stretch the muscle lengthens a lot whereas this does not occur in massage to the same extent. 
Flexibility training leads to more permanent changes in the body and, along with massage, more flexibility can be achieved much faster. You’ll also widen your knowledge and understanding of why you’re doing the type of stretching that you’re doing in relation to your weaknesses. Your therapist will help you set your goals realistically. 

Passive stretching in sports massage 

The therapist will perhaps run you through a few passive stretches during or at the end of your session which will help to lengthen the fascia, increasing the circulation to and from it. 
 
Passive stretching: This where you stay in a certain stretch position for a set period. A partner intensifies the stretch by assisting you and putting external pressure on your body. This allows you to relax more whilst your partner assists you, effectively allowing you to go deeper into the stretch. 

So, back to why sports massage cannot replace stretching… 

If you can’t stretch consistently on your own because you’re too fragile and you struggle, sports massage will help support you to reach the stage where you will be capable of stretching effectively by yourself through having massage sessions. 
 
However, realistically speaking, sports massage is not some kind of magical cure which will take off the load of you having to persevere through stretching! (Sorry.) You’ll have to engage in regular stretching by yourself, too. Sadly, a therapist cannot do all the work for you although we can help you with your understanding of your weaknesses. 

To summarise… 

Massage boosts your metabolism 
Sports massage can improve your flexibility 
Massage will relieve pain on a more short-term basis whereas stretching has a more long-term effect on pain relief. 
A great thing about massage is that your massage therapist can help you stretch further with a lower risk of injury when done properly. 
 
Resistance stretching is very effective, but it needs someone who knows what they are doing to help you out. 
 
So, in some cases, if you are a beginner at stretching then yes, for a period having massage sessions more frequently and closer together could be more beneficial to get you on track. 
 
If you want to get your health back on track then please book an appointment with Fire & Earth and we’ll do our best to support you. 
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