What is sports massage?

Sports massage combines the use of deep tissue massage techniques and specific sports massage techniques, helping athletes with the prevention and management of injuries. It can be part of a training program preparing the body for an athletic activity to help gain or maintain its optimum condition. It can also be part of a rehabilitation program from injury helping the body get back to its fit condition or helping the muscles and joints recover from soreness and strain after an athletic event.

Most of us who do some form of regular exercise, or physical activity, work out at the gym, or have physically active jobs, can benefit from sports massage.

Sports massage is aimed at breaking down knots, adhesions and scar tissue. It also works on releasing muscle spasms, fascial stiffness and reducing muscle hypertonicity, which in turn helps muscle elasticity and joint range of movement (ROM). With the understanding of anatomy and physiology, the relevant muscle groups will be worked on as well as referred pain areas.

Sports massage techniques used:
• Body alignment and postural analysis
• Joint ROM assessment
• Muscle strength tests
• Muscle tension special tests
• Soft Tissue Release (STR)
• Muscular Energy Technique (MET)
• Trigger point therapy/Neuro-muscular Technique (NMT)
• Passive mobilisation
• Assisted stretching
• Myofascial release

Pre-event sports massage - Preparatory
Are you in training for an athletic event? It may be that you are gradually increasing your work outs or increasing the intensity. All of this means your musculoskeletal system is being pushed, and prone to strain and overuse problems. Getting a regular sports massage as part of your training regime is very beneficial not just in preparing your body but in preventing any injuries.

Ideally sports massage should not be closer than 2 to 3 days before your event.

Post-event sports massage - Recovery
After your athletic event, it is highly recommended that you receive a sports massage to help your body recover from the strains that have been put upon it. This should ideally be within a few days to help you recover from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) as well as tackle any niggles and pains that may have arisen. It also helps effective delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle tissues, removal of lactic acid and toxins, aiding the healing process

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
This is post strenuous exercise pain, stiffness and soreness that is usually experienced in the couple of days after the event. It can start within a day, but the soreness usually is worse 2 days after the event before slowly subsiding.

Injury Prevention and Management

Overuse or repetitive use can create a constant built up of tension and strain in the muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments, and fascial connective tissue. This repetitive friction can build up to inflammation in the affected area, causing swelling and pain. In more severe circumstances, when not allowed to rest and more load and activity is put upon the area, it can cause muscle tendon tears or ruptures or cartilage issues.

How massage helps - release adhesions, knots and tension, ease myofascial rigidity, improving flexibility, joint range of movement, muscle strength, and muscle elasticity.

Acute stage of healing - RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
RICE is recommended at the acute stage, therefore when you have recently picked up an injury, such as sprained your ankle, or fallen on an area that has become swollen. In general, cold application to the injured area (cryotherapy) will help when the injury is recent or acute as it reduces inflammation as well as numb the pain.

Chronic stage of healing - Thermotherapy, sports massage
Heat application to the affected area (thermotherapy) is usually at the chronic stage when all swelling has subsided and the affected muscles surrounding the injured joint could be left tense. Heat helps relax the muscles and therefore effective in loosening the tight rigid fibres. Heat should never be used when the injury is acute and there is inflammation still present. At this later stage, sports massage is very beneficial as it can break down scar tissue and adhesions, as well as help stretch and re-align the muscle fibres.

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

Your sports massage session can include some assessment firstly 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. Please note it is not diagnosing a condition.

Sports massage is a remedial massage and therefore addresses the area of concern and any referred pain location. The treatment uses specific sports massage techniques as mentioned and as well as massage, it can often include passive mobilisations and assisted stretching.

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.