Contrary to popular opinion, sports massages are not just for the injured, in fact any athlete or exercise enthusiast can benefit from a sports massage.
This blog post explores how a sports massage differs from an ordinary massage, the benefits of a sports massage and when you should think about getting a sports massage.
What is a Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a form of massage that involves the manipulation of soft tissue to benefit a person that engages in regular physical activity. A sports massage differs from a regular massage as it is not intended for relaxation.
Sports massages are designed to assist in correcting problems and imbalances in the soft tissue caused by repetitive and strenuous physical activity or trauma in order to prevent injury, alleviate muscle or tendon pain or rid stress in the soft tissue.
There are a wide variety of reasons why someone would decide to get a sports massage, these include:
- Suffering from on-going conditions due to the nature of their sport such as tight calves from running.
- Tense shoulders and lower back pain that could be caused from sitting for long periods of time.
- Aiding recovery from injury or surgery.
- Help those that suffer from headaches and migraines.
Sports massages can be divided into 4 categories:
- Pre-Event: Designed to stimulate. This massage will focus on the body areas that will be exerted during activity. Typically given 15-45 minutes before the event.
- Post-Event: This assists the tissues to normalise after the activity. Usually received within 2 hours of the event.
- Restorative: These are received regularly whilst training for an event or for those looking to improve their performance and train harder. Typically used to enable prolonged training by preventing injury.
- Rehabilitative: Purposely designed to alleviate pain from an injury and return the affected back to normal so training can resume.
Don’t panic if you do not know which type of sports massage you will need. Upon arrival, your masseuse will conduct an initial assessment based on your individual needs to determine the best type of sports massage for you.
Benefits of a Sports Massage
There are a wide range of benefits to be gained from having a sports massage, both beneficial to the body (physiological) and the mind (psychological). Some of the reported benefits include:
- Increased flexibility.
- Increased joint range of motion.
- Improved sense of well-being.
- Increased relaxation.
- Reduced muscle tension.
- Decreased neurological excitability (relaxed nerves).
- Improved sleep.
- Better control and understanding of own pain threshold- massage reduces the feeling of pain by increasing the capability to minimise anxiety and get rid of waste products.
- Reported decreased chance of injury whilst exercising.
- Reported decreased recovery time between workouts and improve Delated Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
So, when is best to get a Sports Massage?
If you are a regular exerciser, anytime is ideal for a sports massage. As exercise shortens your muscles, stretching at the end of your workout is important but having a sports massage every month or so will help keep you loose so you can train for longer with a reduced risk of injury. Equally, if you have had an injury you can ask your physiotherapist when would be the best time for you to get a sports massage in order to aid to your recovery.
Before you go for your sports massage remember: a sports massage is supposed to be tender at times however you should tell your masseuse if you are in a lot of pain. You will feel sore for 1 or 2 days after, and immediately after your massage you may feel cold, thirsty or faint as your body recovers from the initial shock to the soft tissue. Be sure to drink plenty of water and enjoy a hot bath to aid the process of your body metabolizing the waste products removed from your soft tissue.
If you are suffering from a viral infection, it is not advisable to receive a sports massage as the massage will stimulate your circulation and lymphatic system which can cause the virus to spread through your body. Therefore, wait until the virus has fully cleared.
It usually takes 24-48 hours to feel the full effects of a sports massage after which you should feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Now you understand what a sports massage is and why it is beneficial, book yourself in for a massage at Beckwith Health Club. We offer a 30-minute sports massage, which includes an injury assessment to help prevent the repeat of the injury as well as a home treatment plan of stretches and exercises to help you manage your symptoms and get you back to full fitness much quicker.