Sports massage suffers from an image problem: too many people imagine that it’s either too ‘soft,’ just a way to make you feel nice without really doing anything important for your health, or too ‘hard’ – just getting even more beaten up.
The reality is somewhat different. A good sports massage practitioner can help you recover from both physical and psychological injuries, restoring muscular balance by relaxing tight muscles, and improving circulation. It can even rid you of persistent musculoskeletal problems for good! It’s not just for elite sports people either.
Many professional and Olympic athletes include Sports Massage in their training programme to keep their performance level high. It helps strengthen and tone your muscles and get you ready to perform at your best.
It also reduces the risk of injury. On their website, the Australian Sports Commission recommends Sports Massage as a physiological and psychological strategy for recovery.
However, Sports Massage is not just for top athletes but also for amateur athletes, those who do physical work and even people who take their dog out for a walk.
The benefits of Sports Massage include:
● increased blood circulation and delivery of more oxygen around your body
● stretching of tight muscles
● faster recovery for overused muscles
● moving body fluid and reducing swelling from injury
● increased immune response
● pain reduction
● stress and anxiety reduction
Different approaches to different sports settings
Sometimes people come in for a Sports Massage and just ask for hard pressure massage. When we perform Sports Massage, we differentiate massage techniques to suit your sports setting. This is simply because although you might want a hard pressure massage, this does not always give you the best result for you to achieve the best performance.
They are divided into Pre-event, Intra-event, Post-event and Maintenance.
● Pre-event – from about 3 days out to just before the event. The massage should be quick, fast and light. You should avoid deep tissue techniques, because you might suffer DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) on the actual event day. Also avoid relaxation massage as you do not want to be too relaxed on the day.
● Intra-event – during longer event or between stages. You have pulled muscles or have minor injuries. Techniques should be short, light and focused.
● Post-event – after the event. The main focus should be recovery. A full body massage is recommended.
● Maintenance – between events and when you do daily or weekly training. You ought to have an occasional maintenance massage session.
In recent years, you see cupping marks on Olympic athletes on TV and even on some Hollywood stars. The suction of cupping is believed to remove blood blockage and improves the health of the body. It also works on reducing muscle tightness and musculoskeletal pain, releasing body toxins and increasing lymphatic drainage just like massage. Please ask your therapist if you would like to try cupping.
Acupuncture is also quite effective to treat sports injuries and muscular aches by stimulating the body’s natural ability to heal itself. We have acupuncturists available at the Grange clinic. Please phone our friendly reception team on 3366 7970 if you would like to know more.
After a vigorous game or a long run, a session in the weight room or even a hard week at work, massage offers several important benefits. If you’re carrying an injury, massage therapy can help to hasten recovery and improve future performance. Regular sessions can help prevent injuries and imbalances from developing or gradually work out longstanding issues. Many massage therapists can be found augmenting their practice with other methodologies including acupuncture, and some form co-practices with chiropractors or osteopaths to offer a more comprehensive service.