Preparation and training are 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 professional athlete to feel the benefit of a sports massage.
What Is Sports Massage?
Deep tissue massage and sports massage are very similar. They both incorporate some of the same strokes; they can both be used to relieve tension in the body; and they both have their origins in Swedish massage. The differences between them relate more to the client.
Specifically, a sports massage is normally 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 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 a 10k runner, sports massage can be used during training, in the lead up to an event, on the day of the event and after the event too. The style of the massage would be different for each part of the training and preparation.
When Should You Have A Sports Massage?
During the training phase, sports massage is useful to prevent injuries and it keeps the runner in the best possible physical condition. Regular massage prevents any small niggles from deteriorating.
In the lead up to an event, a client would probably be winding down training to give their body the rest it requires in advance and in order not to cause any unnecessary injury. During this phase, massages would be lighter in order to promote relaxation, improved blood flow to any ‘niggly’ areas so that the body can heal itself and generally make the client feel good.
On the day of an event, sports massage is used to get the body warmed up properly. This requires fast, light strokes to stimulate the muscles, get the blood flowing around the body and warming up the major muscle groups. The client can then prepare for the race.
Used in conjunction with stretching and Pilates strengthening exercises, the muscles should be at their peak performance. All that is left to do is to go and win the race!
After a race, the warm down is very important. Heart and breathing rates reduce; the body temperature cools; muscles return to their optimal length-tension relationships, preventing venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities. (This may cause dizziness or fainting as physiologic systems are restored close to baseline.) This is also a time when the muscles may feel sore so I recommend that, for the first 48 hours after a race, the body is allowed to start the healing process by itself.
Then come and have your 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. Muscles will be less achy and sore and massage won’t cause pain.
With more punishing races such as our very popular London Marathon, triathlons, Iron Man events or even ultra-marathons, the preparation and post-race process must be right. The harder you push your body, the more you need to look after it. Training is obviously the most important element of these events but it is vital to include massage as part of your effective training regime. 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.
Address: 80 Luton Road, Harpenden, AL5 2UT
Telephone: 07865 645 708
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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.
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)