What is sports massage?

Sports massage combines the use of Swedish massage and adds more intensive techniques which are used for the prevention and treatment of sports and other injuries.

It can be used as part of a training programme or as part of rehabilitation for recovery from injury. Like other forms of massage, it has many benefits on the body systems.

Sports massage is different to holistic massage in that deeper pressure is used to break down knots, adhesions and scar tissue. It works into the deep tissue and uses specific techniques to strengthen muscles, lengthen and stretch muscles, improve range of movement (ROM), flexibility, and relieve muscle tension and hypertonicity. Sports massage is beneficial in preventing injury, managing injury, as well as pre-event warm up and post-event cool down, reducing fatigue.

Injury Prevention and Management

Overuse or repetitive use can create a constant built up of tension in the muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments, fascia and connective tissue. Regular massage can release these adhesions, knots and tension improving flexibility, joint range of movement, muscle strength, which helps prevent injuries.

When injuries do occur, whether from overuse or trauma, sports massage can be very beneficial, depending on what stage of the soft tissue healing process it is in and the nature of the pathology. In the later stages of healing sports massage can break down scar tissue and stretch and re-align the muscle fibres.
After strenuous exercise, it improves the recovery of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) by effective delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle tissues. Sports massage also aids removal of lactic acid, which helps relieve muscle soreness and pain.

Other methods which aid injury healing include RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), cryotherapy (application of cold to the injured area) and thermotherapy (application of heat to the injured area). In general cold application will help when the injury is recent or acute to reduce inflammation. Heat application helps relax the muscles. effective for muscle spasms and is used at the later chronic stage of healing. Heat should never be used when the injury is acute and there is inflammation present.

Benefits of Sports Massage

• Relieves soreness and tension
• Relieves stiff joints
• Relieves cramps and muscle spasms
• Breaks down adhesions and knots
• Increases flow of oxygen and nutrients to muscles and joints helping recover from fatigue and injury
• Increases flexibility and ROM of joints
• Releases tension in the fascia, connective tissue
• Releases joint strain by releasing tight muscles and tendons
• Improves posture and body alignment
• Better removal of lactic acid from tired sore muscles allowing better recovery
• Regenerates tissue including burns, wounds and wrinkles
• Stimulates blood flow to nourish the skin

Sports Massage

What to expect in your session

Sports massage is a remedial massage on the area of concern and any referred pain location. Remedial massage treatment uses specific sports massage techniques such as STR (Soft Tissue Release), MET (Muscular Energy Technique) and NMT (Neuro-muscular Technique) or trigger point therapy to help breakdown chronic knots, improve muscle length, improve range of movement and muscle strength. As well as massage, the treatment can often include passive mobilisations and assisted stretching.

If needed, the session can include some assessment looking at posture and body alignment. We can also do some active and passive range of movement tests, muscle strength tests, and special tests addressing the area of concern and related areas. It is advised that you bring a vest and shorts to wear for the assessment part. The assessment part is aimed at forming an opinion on which muscle or muscle groups (such as rotator cuffs, hip flexors) are causing a problem and the massage treatment is aimed at targeting those areas. It is not diagnosing a condition.

Please note that if assessment is carried out, this is part of your session time, and as each client situation is different, the proportion of assessment time and massage treatment time will vary.