When participating in any form of physical exertion, whether it be sports or exercise, no matter how casual or often it’s undertaken, there’s a possibility that the body can be damaged as a result of it; muscles will cramp, tear, bruise and ache. Left untreated, these temporary aches and pains may lead an individual to become increasingly susceptible to developing more serious conditions which may not only hamper an individuals performance, but also be difficult to treat. The practice of sports massage as both a preventative and remedial treatment for sport-related injuries is widely accepted and used around the world.
What is Sports Massage?
Sports Massage involves a combination of techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, toning, and trigger point response, much like acupressure & shiatsu. Ultimately, it is based upon the Swedish massage technique, but the contribution and involvement of other techniques is not uncommon.
Despite the name, a sports massage is not solely designed for use on sports participants or fitness fanatics. Individuals in physically, and/or emotionally demanding jobs can also benefit due to overexertion of muscle capability, or because it is a belief widely held that emotional issues can physically manifest in the form of illness.
How does it work?
The ultimate aim of a sports massage is to assist recovery, and enhance performance through the massage of specific parts of the body that are expressly used during certain forms of exercise or sport; it is therefore important that sports massage therapists have a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology.
When minor injuries occur as a result of overexertion or overuse, a sports massage can become the catalyst for breaking the injuries down quickly and effectively.
What can it treat?
Sports massage is commonly used to prevent or treat muscle damage, as well as aches or pains around specific parts of the body that are a resultant of exerting activity, or alternatively, parts of the body that are susceptible to muscle damage, aches, or pains as a result of the sport, exercise, or work an individual regularly undertakes or will be undertaking.
Athletes in particular can benefit from three-part massage scheme which is outlined below:
Different sports draw upon the use of different muscle groups within the body, and a regular massage treatment to the relevant muscle groups delivered by a practitioner with a sound knowledge of the anatomy that is applicable to a recipient’s sport, can assist the athlete to maintain or even enhance their range of motion and muscle flexibility.
Perhaps two of the most conceivable sports massage techniques and pre and post event massages. These massages take place, as you may have guessed, before and after a sporting event. The purpose of a pre-event massage is to contribute to an athlete’s warm up and enhance circulation whilst reducing excess muscle tension prior to completion. The purpose of a post-event massage is to reduce any muscle spasm and metabolic build ups that are resultant of physical exertion.
As mentioned above, muscles will cramp, tear, bruise and ache. The purpose of rehabilitation massage techniques is to reduce spasm and pain in affected muscle groups through the manipulation of trigger points. It should also act as a catalyst for the body’s own natural healing ability and reduce any experiences of discomfort throughout a rehabilitation period.
In any case, the above massage techniques should only be employed conjointly with all other appropriate medical care.