Sports massage was developed to help athletes perform optimally in their chosen sport. It can be used for maintenance during training, injury prevention, pre event to warm up & stimulate muscles ready for activity and post event to help recovery of tired muscles.
It can also be used during the treatment of injuries & the rehabilitation programme.
The aim of a Sports Massage
One of its main aims of a sports massage is to prevent injury by taking care of muscles and tendons during training. A therapist should be able to identify muscular imbalances and areas of muscular tightness that could lead to potential injury if left untreated. The therapist will also have a good knowledge of sport specific injuries like ‘shin splints’ in runners, tennis and golfers elbow, hamstring strains in footballers to name but a few.
There are of course many more and injury type is not always sport specific. Usually an assessment is carried out to identify asymmetry in the body and areas of pain.
What Happens During a Massage
Sports people tend to have quite high pain thresholds and often refer to the ‘good pain’ they feel during a sports massage treatment. Soft tissues including muscles are massaged and manipulated deeply to improve muscle length and elasticity. This releases tension, to re-energise tired muscles, to improve joint mobility and increase the range of movement of muscles. Other benefits are improved circulation, and healing.
Involves fast, vigorous strokes to stimulate the muscles, nerve endings and blood flow to prepare muscles for activity.
Whereas a post-event massage strokes are much slower flushing the muscles through allowing them to recovery post exercise. Gentle stretching is also incorporated.
Sports Massage is not just for Athletes
However, sports massage is not just for athletes.
Sports massage can be incorporated in to a regular routine:
- To alleviate tension in muscles
- Reduce chronic pain.
- Identify muscle weaknesses and realign muscular imbalances. (This can be caused by every day life, poor posture, overuse & repetitive strain.)
Sports massage can utilise different techniques, resisted stretching, trigger point release & other muscle energy techniques, depending on what the therapist finds during assessment and massage.
For example muscles in the neck, shoulders and upper back can become tight. The opposing muscles in the chest become shorter through working at a computer or being on a gadget.
This is becoming more common particularly in teenagers and young adults. Massage & resisted stretching can help to reduce pain and tension in these areas.
When the muscles, tendons and other soft tissue are worked deeply using regular sports massage you will feel the benefit.
Deep tissue massage has been around a very long time. It uses slow strokes with firm pressure to manipulate the deeper layers of muscle and surrounding fascia (connective tissue). The massage will work along the length of the muscle fibres but also across the fibres. It can be used to focus on persistent aches, knots or scar tissue that needs breaking down. The whole body is usually massaged following a routine to enhance musculoskeletal balance & well being. The deep tissue manipulation boosts circulation, enhancing healing and the body’s natural detoxification processes. It can be a deeply relaxing massage, relieving tension, reducing blood pressure and promoting sleep.
Incorporating deep tissue massage in to your regular routine will improve the condition of the fascia, muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as stimulating the blood supply.
Deep tissue massage is often used to reduce post-operation adhesions and swellings and the body’s response to the massage can have an analgesic effect reducing pain.
Pregnancy massage can be used prenatally, during pregnancy and post natally to combat aches, pains & tension that can be experienced during pregnancy. Studies show that women who receive regular massage during their pregnancy have fewer complications during their pregnancy and labour.
Pregnancy is a unique state for the body experiencing anatomical and physiological changes during the three trimesters. Soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons and muscles become more lax (elastic) to allow the body to expand to allow the baby to grow. This can mean joints are less stable than normal. Common ailments during pregnancy are pelvic, low back pain, headaches, stiff neck and leg cramps. Another common ailment is oedema or swelling.
The Benefits of Massage during Pregnancy
Targets muscular tension that may develop, alleviates compression on nerves (sciatic type pain can be triggered during pregnancy). Pregnancy massage improves circulation & lymphatic drainage which helps the body to detoxify and lessen swellings or water retention that may occur. The body’s immunity will be enhanced through improved lymph flow.
Pregnancy massage can be deeply relaxing and has been shown to benefit the baby through endorphins (feel good chemicals) released by mum during the massage. Sometimes the baby can become quite active and responsive during massage.
Depending on stage of pregnancy and how big the baby bump is the massage can be carried out in side lying position to ensure maximum comfort for mum and the strokes can be adapted to maximise relaxation & comfort.
Relaxation massage is an holistic massage which uses a variety of strokes and flowing movements with different pressures to work all over the body to create a state of deep relaxation. The massage will improve circulation of blood & oxygen around tissues, promote healthy skin, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, stimulate the release of endorphins (natural pain-killers in the body) and promote tissue healing, inducing calmness & relaxation. This type of massage is sometimes referred to as Swedish massage.
Remedial massage/Therapeutic Massage
Uses a range of massage strokes and advanced soft tissue techniques after assessing a clients requirements. Whether that be during rehabilitation after an injury or operation which may include scar work procedures, or whether it be a chronic condition.
The aim of a Remedial Massage
The main aim is to deal effectively with the variety of musculoskeletal problems arising post trauma. It also helps with recovery and reduce the symptoms a client is experiencing.
In the long term to return the client to pre injury/operation condition or better, relieving tired and aching muscles, improving posture and general body awareness, aiding rehabilitation after an injury, accident or operation.
Regular remedial massage can also help enhance the immune system, allow mental relaxation through physical relaxation of the soft tissues and realign scar tissue after injury allowing muscles to work freely and reducing weak spots in the muscle.
Indian Head Massage
Indian head massage is based on the ayurvedic system of healing and has been used in Asia for centuries. It concentrates on the head, scalp, face, neck and shoulders. Tension and stress that has accumulated in the tissues, muscles and joints of the head, face, neck and shoulders can gently be released using this slow strokes and circular movements over these areas.
If you feel you would benefit from a Sports Massage, contact us on 0208 0909330 to book.