The Fundamental Benefits of Sport Massage
Posted on 20th August 2021
There are so many positives when receiving sports massage – and even performing it on others.
Sports massage is manual manipulation of the muscles geared specifically toward helping people who have physically demanding lifestyles and/or hobbies, or those who have sedentary jobs in front of a screen all day. This kind of therapeutic massage considers the impact of certain activities on specific joints, muscle groups, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissue groups.
What Does Sports Massage Do?
Sports massage enables you to feel relaxed. It helps release stress and relaxes people as well as offering many physical benefits. 77% of people experience stress that affects their physical health, and sports massage is a way to control this.
Stress causes the muscles to tense and become stiff, causing a higher chance of aches, pains, and injury. Massage helps to relax the muscles and allows you to relax, so you come away feeling less tense. Massage does this by decreasing cortisol which is the stress hormone. This will automatically make the client feel less stressed and more relaxed as the treatment goes on.
Massage also increases the hormones serotonin and dopamine; these hormones help to stabilise moods. By decreasing the stress hormones, it will also lead to an increase or more stabilised sleep pattern.
Massage reduces stress by relaxing the muscles and soft tissues in the body. The way that massage does this is by increasing the temperature and blood circulation through the body. The increase in temperature is stimulated by friction against the skin. Increased circulation delivers more blood to the muscles, removing waste products and relieving tension.
If you have a stressful job or life it’s important for your therapist to factor that into the massage. You may have heightened shoulders full of tension because you rarely relax or you struggle with tension headaches. Massage into the shoulders, pectorals, and into the neck will release the tension caused by stress. It’s worth bearing in mind that it could take a couple of sessions before the muscle memory happens. Working through the head and deep into the neck releases lots the tension and you’ll enjoy the increased flexibility afterwards, too.
Sports massage can also help with flexibility. Flexibility is important to everyone as it helps improve mobility, posture, muscle coordination, and reduces the risk of injury and soreness. Sports massage increases muscle temperature, reducing restriction, and increasing elasticity. Reducing restriction through sports massage helps to increase flexibility in the muscles and joints. An example of a sport which will need flexibility is a kickboxer. Not having enough range of motion at the hip joint will mean that the kick boxer’s performance will be restricted and could potentially lead to injury. Sports massage lengthens the muscles such as the hamstrings to increase the range of movement for the athlete.
Lactic acids and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is what everyone tries to avoid having after exercise. If lactic acid gets stuck in the muscles it forms knots. If the knots are not seen to, then more waste will get stuck to them making them larger. These knots can become painful and reduce range of movement. These knots need to be got rid of so that mobility is at its best and pain is reduced.
The sports massage therapist works to drain the muscles and get the waste and lactic acid cleared out. This can sometimes lead to the client having a runny nose/needing the toilet. Some clients shed a tear or two when they feel the sense of relief, which is perfectly normal. If the lactic acid/knots are not seen to it will cause soreness and for them to feel tired. If the lactic acid is not seen to quick enough then DOMS will occur. Massage treats DOMS by relieving pain and stiffness. This is done by the increase of blood flow and allowing normal movement and flexibility to be restored. This will also decrease the recovery time between exercises which is needed.
Sports massage decreases the chance of injury. Massage increases the temperature of collagen fibres, making it easier for the collagen to be broken down. Breaking down adhesions increases the range of movement and decrease tightness to help prevent injury. Sports massage maintenance is what is used in order to maintain the body at a fit state for everyday life and exercise.
The other brilliant thing about sports massage is that therapists have a fantastically rewarding job!
As a sports massage therapist, I get to see improvement in my clients every session. People normally come to the clinic for an injury or a concern which they have and want to fix. Some clients can come in at the start quite worried about the situation that they are in and will do anything in order for them to get better. I will be able to see what they need to do to improve the problem and then will see what they are doing at home or work which is making the problem worse. With three sessions close together I can often already start to see progress in the right direction for the client. This is hugely positive for my clients as well me as a therapist.
Each client will be different and will take their own time in order to get to the stage where maintenance massage comes in. Maintenance massage is just as important as the first massage. In order for our clients to maintain the progress which has been made, maintenance massages are needed. Sports massage is all about muscle memory and it doesn’t long for the muscle memory to go the wrong way if it is not kept up with. This combined with suggested exercises can offer a whole host of physical and mental benefits.
Tagged as: sports massage
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