What is a Sports Massage?
Posted on 6th March 2020 at 10:00
Sports massage is often used to help athletes (or non-athletes these days) to recover faster, enhance performance, and prevent injury in order to keep on top of training and competing. In fact, it has its origins in ancient Greek times when their gymnasiums were known to focus on activities which included amongst other things, massage, and was even prescribed to gladiators before and after exercise! Thumbs up to that!
In more modern times the more specific origins of sports massage can be traced to “soigneurs”. Translated to “one who treats” this role was to provide massage relief to competing cyclists in arduous conditions where rapid recovery was vital. In essence it’s used to manipulate the soft tissue such as muscles and ligaments, encourage the recovery process, and alleviate stress and tension which has built up in the soft tissue.
Other benefits of sports massage include increased mobility and flexibility and correcting imbalances which may be caused by excessive and repetitive activities and trauma. This is why they’re not just for sports people these days.
Who should get a sports massage?
Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to actually do sports to have a sports massage. In fact, many people who we treat come in with issues that are not sports related! Your muscles come under a lot of strain in day to day activity. Imagine just some of the tasks that we perform each day; sitting at a desk all day at work – think of that pain you get in your back. How about walking for a long period of time and that pain you get in your calves?
How about driving for long stretches, and that pain you get down the side of your leg? These are very common muscular issues which we treat and affect nearly all of us.
There are certain circumstances in which it is not possible to treat someone, often referred to as “contraindications” these are basically conditions in which it is unsafe to treat a client for their own safety and even our own.
This means you potentially can’t have a sports massage if you have; undergone a recent operation, a contagious disease, or if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In many cases it’s better to ask the advice of a doctor before booking a sports massage if you are worried you may have a condition which would not allow treatment.
What does a sports massage feel like?
This is a question asked time and time again by people new to the idea. They come in with a preconception of what it’s like based on Dave-from-down-the-road’s horror stories from his rugby days and assume they’re in for torture-like pain.
The reality? It can vary for everyone. Basically, the pressure is under your control, and the therapist can always back off or even step it up to suit the needs of the client. Many people have experienced a “Swedish massage” which is very relaxing.
A sports massage is aimed at deep tissues in order to relieve aches and pains, so as you can imagine techniques aimed at getting deeper into the muscles are deployed such as myofascial release, trigger point therapy and friction work. These aren’t always comfortable but your therapist can adjust to your needs.
So, what could sports massage help me with?
On top of having great benefits relating to sport there are other conditions which many of us are familiar with that benefit. Just some include are;
Chronic back pain. This is the most common type of pain reported and also a big cause of disabilities.
Headaches. Sports massage has been shown to ease muscle spasms, improve blood flow circulation, and relieve tension and relaxation.
Neck pain. Also up there with headaches as one of the most common causes of pain, there’s evidence to suggest that massage therapy provides relief. It’s certainly worth a try!
If any of this is sounding familiar to you then don’t hesitate to see what sports massage can do for you. Book in!
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