What is a sports massage?
Massage has been used with athletes for thousands of years. In ancient Greece, massage was used before and after competing. Sports massage has a well-documented body of research behind it, proving the effectiveness of different treatment plans in relation to injury types and ongoing sporting activity.
Almost every major sports team has its own physio and sports masseurs to help them but all athletes will benefit from sports massage. Benefits include:
- Faster recovery from trauma following exercise,
- Increased flexibility and range of motion,
- Relief from fatigue,
- Reduced injury healing time,
- Improve circulation,
- Reduced muscle tension, cramping and inflammation after exercise.
Different forms of Sports Massage are available including:
- Pre and post event massage,
- Rehabilitation massage to aid recovery from injury,
- Maintenance massage.
It is important to find a sports massage practitioner who is not only qualified but has an interest in your sport.
What happens during a sports massage?
The therapist will talk to you about your sport and any symptoms and goals you have during your consultation and will devise a suitable treatment programme for your body, related to your sport and the problems you need to address.
Your treatment may involve manual manipulation of your muscles and limbs. Due to the nature of deep muscle tissue manipulation, it can be uncomfortable at first, but your body will respond as muscle stiffness reduces and flexibility increases.
After your treatment:
To gain maximum benefit from your sports massage treatment, try to rest afterwards as this helps your body’s natural healing process. Caffeine can have a stimulating effect, so tea, coffee and cola should be avoided if possible, to help you to relax. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea over the next few days to flush toxins away.
If you have any queries, do not hesitate to ask your therapist for advice. Psychological benefits can be huge, such as an increase in self-esteem and self-perception as an athlete.