Sports Massage Therapy
A deep tissue massage, coupled with physical manipulations used to shorten recovery time between workouts, training sessions and physically demanding events.
Not just beneficial for athletes, sports massage can help prevent or aid in the recovery of chronic soft tissue injuries and ease strain on the body caused by work and everyday life.
In terms of it's application for athletic events, sports massage involves the application of therapeutic massage and stretching to assist an athlete's performance and recovery from activity. However, there are different types of sports massage in relation to the competition:
Immediately before competition (pre-event)
Between competitions on the same day (inter-event)
Immediately after competition (post-event)
During the training programme (therapeutic/maintenence)
Besides the physiological benefits of massage, sports massage can provide unique psychological benefits to athletes. Firstly, the confidence gained from having your muscular issues corrected can help you compete at your highest level. Secondly, levels of anxiety and nervousness surrounding the event will naturally decrease with the use of therapeutic touch and finally, pre-event massage will allow you to get an edge-up on competition who may not have received treatment before hand.
Sports massage also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, a benefit of which is improved immunity but more importantly a positive change in levels of fatigue. This allowed athletes to generate more power in repeated exercise tests.
Techniques used in sports massage therapy are quite advanced and generally won't be used in other forms of massage. These techniques include:
Soft Tissue Release: The recipient contracts the muscle whilst the therapies applies upward pressure to provide a strong release for tight, stubborn areas.
Muscle Energy Techniques: The recipient contracts the muscle against resistance from the therapist. The position is held for a count of 5, after which the recipient relaxes as the therapist stretches the muscle. This is excellent for improving range of movement over time.
Neuromuscular Techniques: Direct pressure is applied to stubborn adhesions in muscle fibers followed by momentary relaxation before re-application. This is a very strong technique, but extremely effective.
Connective Tissue Massage: The therapist applies pressure in opposing directions to a singular muscle or muscle group, improving flexibility and loosening off any “sticky” fibers.