Sports massage is often a crucial part of an athlete’s training regime. Sports massage is not only useful in loosening muscles, it has various other benefits that can be essential for athletes.
What is ‘Sports Massage’?
Although not used just for sports people, sports massage is one of the most common types of massage therapy used within the sporting environment. It is a deep style massage that uses firm pressures to help mobilize, manipulate and stretch both superficial and deeper layers of soft tissue.
If there are deep, firm pressures used, can that not cause injury in itself?
Well this can depend on a few things… A qualified sports massage therapist will know the ins and outs of the type of massage they were using and when and when not it can be potentially harmful to use.
For example, an athlete with no injury present but is very stiff, tense and has reduced range of movement would benefit from a sports massage and there would be very little side effects or adverse effects that would occur. Now, if an athlete came that had just pulled their hamstring 2 hours ago and a therapist used intense, deep style techniques on the injured area, this would have the potential of causing more damage and swelling. A good and qualified therapist should have told this athlete to follow the RICE principle for the first 48hrs as your body goes through its acute inflammation phase of recovery.
In short, if no acute injury or contraindication is present, sports massage should have no detrimental effects to an athlete.
So how does sports massage prevent injury?
Sports massage is super useful to athletes to help reduce the risk of injury. As I mentioned earlier, one of the most known uses of sports massage is to reduce muscular tightness and tension. It does this by stretching out tightened muscles, breaking down muscular tension and knots and breaking down and realigning adhesions and/or scar tissue. This itself can help reduce risks of injury-
Reduced tension/tightness= improved flexibility and range of movement= reduced risk of injury.
Another way sports massage can be useful to you sporty lot is it helps to maintain strong and healthy muscles. During a sports massage, circulation of nutrients increases. These nutrients are used to help repair my damaged tissues, keep muscles energized and prevent muscles from weakening. So again, this further reduces the chances of injury.
A final way massage helps to prevent injury is through removal of metabolic and toxic waste products. This includes waste products such as your lactic acid that builds up after a long or intense workout. A build-up of waste products contributes to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), muscular fatigue and muscular weakness- these all contribute to a potential risk of injury. A massage helps to flush out these metabolic wastes from the muscles to help prevent them from becoming injured.
Why should a sports team regular sports massage?
Introducing sports massage into your sports team’s training program not only helps to prevent injury, it can also help all members of the team improve their performance, it can help aid the recovery of previous injuries, boost your team’s moral and leave them feeling overall healthier, fitter and stronger.
To find out more about how we can help your sports team, feel free to contact us today and speak with one of our highly trained massage therapists!