What is sports massage?
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Sports massage is designed to help athletes before, during, and after training. It is useful for anyone who exercises to increase flexibility, prevent injuries and help with healing after a sports injury.
How can sports massage help athletes?
Sports massage can help athletes in three ways:
- by preparing them for training or competition;
- by helping them to stay healthy during training or competition; and
- by aiding their recovery after training or competition.
Sports massage is specifically tailored to different sports and sporting injuries. It is not a relaxing form of massage and can often be quite strenuous. It works by stretching tight muscles, stimulating inactive muscles and improving the condition of the soft tissue.
What are the benefits of sports massage?
There are many benefits of sports massage, including:
- reducing muscle tension;
- improving flexibility and range of motion;
- stimulating blood circulation;
- aiding recovery from training or competition; and
- helping to prevent injuries.
How often should I have a sports massage?
The frequency of sports massage will vary depending on the individual and their training schedule. It is generally recommended that athletes have a massage once or twice a week, although this may be increased to three or four times a week in the lead up to an important event.
What does a sports massage involve?
Before the massage begins, your therapist will talk to you about your health and lifestyle. They will ask you to lie on a massage table and will cover you with towels to protect your privacy and to keep you warm. They will probably use creams or oils to help them to massage your skin smoothly.
Your therapist will use a variety of massage techniques, including effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading) and tapotement (percussion). They may also use more specific techniques, such as trigger point therapy or myofascial release. These techniques will vary depending on the type of sports massage you are having.
The massage will usually last for 30 minutes to an hour. You may feel some soreness after the massage, but this should soon disappear.
If you are interested in trying sports massage, please make an appointment with one of our qualified therapists.
What are the health benefits of sports massage?
One of the main benefits of sports massage is that it can prevent sore muscles after exercise (known as ‘delayed onset muscle soreness’). This is because it can help to increase blood flow to the muscles, which delivers oxygen and nutrients that reduce muscle soreness.
Sports massage does not have a specific technique. It depends on the training the person is doing and the nature of the injury or condition. It borrows from techniques used in other disciplines like physiotherapy and osteopathy.
- soft tissue release: locking and stretching the tissues and muscles
- neuromuscular technique: targeting trigger points in the nervous system to get rid of pain and tension
- positional release: used to relax hyperactive muscles
- fascial release: deep, slow kneading used to release the connective tissues around the muscles
Visit healthdirect’s massage therapy guide to identify some of the different types of massage available and help you to choose a massage therapist.
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Trigger Point Therapy
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