ALL ABOUT SPORTS MASSAGE
What is sports massage?
Sports Massage is a form of massage which involves the manipulation of soft tissue to benefit individuals who lead an active lifestyle. Soft tissue includes; skin, muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments. Sports massage is designed to aid in correcting problems and any potential imbalances within these soft tissues caused by repetitive strenuous activity. The application of sports massage both pre and post event may enhance future performance, aid recovery and prevent potential injuries. Sports massage is not used to rehab from an injury but prehab, to maintain an environment within the body where injury is at a minimal risk.
Why have a sports massage?
Alongside any physiological benefits for sporting performance, sports massage can produce a range of other physical and psychological benefits. Sports massage is designed to prepare an individual for their best performance, reduce fatigue and relieve any pre-existing tension or swelling. Sports massage techniques can be manipulated to suit each individual’s needs whether they need to be physically stimulated for an event or relaxed prior.
Physical benefits: reduction in DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) – a common setback for athletes is DOMS, that pain you feel typically 24-48 hours after exercise has ceased that can, at times, be extremely debilitating, causing training to cease until pain has subsided leaving the athlete at a risk of a reduction In performance. Sports Massage can help reduce this pain and swelling due to the increased blood and lymphatic circulation post massage that assists in the removal of metabolites and other toxins built up during exercise!
Improvement in Flexibility – a fatigued muscle may lose its capacity to relax. This may cause tight muscles and a reduction in flexibility. This lack of flexibility has been proven to link to muscle soreness and increases an individual’s risk of injury In the future – especially pulls and tears within the muscle. Massage therapy can help aid in the blood flow to these connective tissues and the stretching out of fascia to allow for improved intra muscular circulation allowing the muscle to return to its pre-exercise state much more efficiently.
Pre Event performance improvement – the bi products of an efficient pre event sports massage can greatly improve an athlete’s performance. The masseuse can manipulate their own techniques to aid in ensuring the athlete at hand is in their optimal state of arousal for a sporting performance. For example a sprinter may want a vigorous pre event massage to stimulate his para sympathetic nervous system into increasing heart rate and therefore blood flow increasing nutrient delivery to working muscles so they feel at peak and ready to go, whereas a snooker player may a relaxing pre event massage to bring their heart rate back down and to ease them into the performance so they are not over aroused heading into the event and feel much more relaxed and on top of their game. Psychological
Benefits: sports massage can play a role in both the stimulating of an athlete and stress relief. Reduction in anxiety – the bodies responses to feelings of anxiety cause the fight or flight response to kick in, blood pressure rises and adrenaline is released from adrenal glands causing a surge in heart rate. Massage therapy can help alleviate these feelings and bring blood pressure and heart rate back down to a relaxed level. Multiple massage sessions have been shown to effective remove predisposed feelings of anxiety which combat these physiological responses.
Improved moods – massage and manual manipulation cause serotonin and endorphins to be released into the blood stream, elevating moods. Massage can aid in the reduction of feelings of chronic pain by stimulating natural pain blockers.
Improved psychological state heading into performance – Massage can help an athlete arrive at their required psychological state heading into performance, leading to a reduced mindset of fear of injury, fear of performance loss and feelings of pressure.
Where can I get a sports massage? We offer sports massage here at Wirral PT. We have a number of certified massage therapists, so why not drop us an email or a message on social media to book in and experience it for yourself.