Sports massage is a form of targeted soft tissue therapy that uses a range of techniques to help:
- keep us moving
- relax the body
- relieve muscular tension
- break down soft tissue adhesions
- reduce pain
Who is it appropriate for?
Sports massage is great for anyone that exercises regularly, but you do not have to be sporty to have one. It is also an ideal treatment for anyone that has tight muscles.
When should you have a sports massage?
- It is often used pre event to warm muscles
- Post event to speed up recovery by assisting lymphatic drainage
- Or as part of a training programme to help improve performance
What does Sports massage do?
There are 5 key areas that sports massage can help
- By reducing muscle soreness (DOMS) that can occur after intense or new exercise. DOMS occurs because the a build up in lactic acid within the body during exercise. A sports massage can help to flush out after exercise.
- By relieving pain caused by muscle tension and stiffness. It relieves muscle tension, spasm and stiffness which all contribute to feeling pain. Pain impulses run towards the spinal cord and up to the brain. Massage can interrupt pain signals by sending other signals along the same nerves, triggering the release of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. These all have a positive and relaxing effect on the body.
- By assisting the recovery process after an injury. When the body is injured, such as a sprain or torn muscle, scar tissue forms as part of the healing process. Sports massage helps to break down scar tissue and promote healing through increasing blood circulation. This helps because increased blood circulation will deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the tissue which in turn helps to repair the damage.
- By increasing flexibility within the body, which is important to everybody. It can help maintain flexibility by releasing tight muscles, increasing blood circulation and stretching tissue fibers. By maximising athletic performance. Sports massage helps the body recover after exercise, serves as injury prevention, psychologically prepares the mental state and increases muscle movement ready for exercise. Receiving a sports massage helps people’s participation in sport by allowing exercisers to train more frequently therefore achieving higher levels of performance.
- By helping prevent injury. We know that exercise and physical work can build tension in the muscles which lead to stresses on the joints and soft tissues. Sports massage can help alleviate this muscle tension as well as restore balance and maintain good function which ensures we can continue with our day to day lives and training.
Previous article in the series: What is Exercise Rehab?
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