Preparation and training is key to achieving results. If you make sports massage a key component of your training programme it will enhance your performance and you will achieve results. You don’t need to be a pro athlete to feel the benefit of a sports massage.
What is sports massage and how does it differ from deep tissue massage? These are questions that get asked frequently.
Deep tissue massage and sports massage are very similar in many ways. They both use some of the same strokes, they both can be used the relieve tension in the body and they both have their origins in Swedish massage.
The differences between them relate more to when you would use them and which type of client.
Specifically, a sports massage is generally going to be used on a client who does sport of some description. You don’t have to be a professional sportsperson to benefit from sports massage. Any type of athlete will get some benefit from better preparation, better training and better management of their body. Sports massage should be part of the preparation and maintenance of any athlete.
For example, if we take a runner who only runs 10k sports massage can be used in during training, in the lead up to an event, on the day of the event and post event too. The style of the massage would be different for each part of the training and preparation for the event.
During the training phase, sports massage would be used to prevent any injuries and keep the runner in the best physical condition possible. This would require regular massage so that the massage therapist can prevent any niggle from getting any worse.
In the lead up to an event the client would probably be winding down training to give their body the rest it requires and not cause any unnecessary injury. During this phase the massages would tend to be lighter concentrating on relaxation, improving blood flow to any areas that have niggles so the body can heal itself and generally making the client feel good.
On the day of the event sports massage is generally used to get the body warmed up properly. This requires fast light strokes to stimulate the muscles, get the blood flowing round the body and warming the major muscle groups up so that the client can then prepare for the race.
Used in conjunction with stretching the muscles should be at their peak performance. All that is left to do is go and win the race!
After the race the warm down is very important. It has several goals which include reducing heart and breathing rates, gradually cooling body temperature, returning muscles to their optimal length-tension relationships, preventing venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities, which may cause dizziness or possible fainting, and restore physiologic systems close to baseline. This is also a time when the muscles are potentially a bit sore so I would always say that during the first 48 hours after a race is let the body start the healing process by itself.
But when should you have the post race massage? I like to see clients usually a minimum of 48 hours from the race finish. This gives their body time to start the recovery process. Also, many of their muscles may well be aching or feeling sore and any sort of massage straight after their race is not usually going to do anything other than cause pain. Once the muscles have started their healing process after a race then I can help the process and keep it on track.
With more punishing races such as marathons, ironman events or even ultra marathons the preparation and post race process is vitally important to get right. The harder you push your body the more you need to look after it.
Training is obviously the most important part of these events but it is critical to include massage as part of your training regime. Remember, you can’t strengthen a muscle that is tight.
Your Massage Sessions
Sessions are interchangeable with Pilates sessions held at the Zing Wellness Studio so you can mix and match as appropriate.
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How does sports massage differ from deep tissue therapy? Sports massage is much more about getting you ready for your sporting event or helping you recover form it or an injury. If necessary, it can be a light touch massage as this can often be as effective when the situation requires for example warming up just before an event requires a much lighter touch than after an event which usually calls for deep tissue therapy.
Can you treat injuries? As a level 4 sports massage therapist I am trained to deal with injuries. Sports massage is a great way of healing the body after an injury as it helps speed up the healing process by improving blood flow to the injured area and removing the toxins that have built up as a result of the injury.
I am a deep tissue and sports massage therapist with a level 4 diploma in sports massage from Premier Global and a specialist interest in deep tissue and remedial therapy massage.
Improve flexibility of muscles
Enhance the mobility of joints
Encourage good blood flow around the body
Increase lymphatic drainage which helps remove toxins from the body
Reduce tightness in the muscles
Prevent injury reoccurrence
Restore soft tissue function
Improve the health of fascia (connective tissue)