Massage has been around for centuries and is well known for its relaxing and calming properties, but not everyone is aware of the true benefits that a professional sports massage can bring.
Do you finish a day of work with an aching back? Do your legs feel heavy during a training session and you lack the energy you feel you should have? It is likely that you have a sports massage therapist in your area, perhaps some work colleagues or sporty friends already using one? If youâ€™re uncertain of why you would benefit, or youâ€™ve heard horror stories of painful pummelling â€“ then I can dispel some myths and explain how it could enhance your life!
Massage eases your aches and pains by increasing the blood flow to the area, which helps to remove lactic acid and to allow for more oxygen and nutrients to be brought to the muscle tissue. When exercising, or even just carrying out daily tasks, we can over stretch and potentially damage our muscle tissue. By correctly warming up and stretching post exercise, we minimise these risks, however there is still a chance of aches and pains, even when being cautious â€“ this is where massage can help.
Therapists use a combination of techniques, mainly using their fingertips, heel of hand, forearm and sometimes elbows to stretch out and â€˜smoothâ€™ your muscle fibres. The sports massage techniques differ to those used in â€˜holisticâ€™ massage as they are usually of a more firm pressure, allowing deeper access to the muscle fibres below the protective layer of skin and fat. The therapists use friction to break down any scar tissue that may have formed around any damage to the muscle. This can sometimes be painful, but a good therapist will use a combination of techniques to minimise this! They can then stretch out the muscle fibres, allowing better blood flow to the area. This can speed up the healing process and rid you of your aches and pains sooner.
What if youâ€™ve injured yourself? Massage comes to the rescue again â€“ gentle manipulation of the joints and muscle tissue can reduce swelling by aiding lymphatic drainage, â€˜flushingâ€™ the area with blood and nutrients to aid the healing. If you have reduced movement from an injury, the therapist can assist with stretches and mobilisation to reduce stiffness and pain.
So, does massage actually benefit training? Isnâ€™t it just a waste of time and money when I could just stretch and use a foam roller on my achy bits? It does work! I treat a number of clients from those with sporting hobbies, right up to those at Olympic level, and they all agree â€“ the aches â€˜goâ€™ faster, muscles feel more flexible, less time is needed to recover between training sessions, and sporting performance is therefore improved.
What if I donâ€™t exercise? Will it benefit me? Well, do you have headaches? What about sore back from the office chair or driving too much? Then yes! Massage can benefit everyone. The techniques are the same, for athletes and all people! The movement of muscle tissue and the release of â€˜knotsâ€™ and tension increases a feeling of relaxation, releases endorphins to help with pain management and can even improve your quality of sleep.
To maximise the benefits of a massage, you are advised to keep hydrated to enable your muscle tissues to function more efficiently, and to better aid the removal of any toxins released during the massage.
So, still unsure – Try SB Sports Massage out. Whatâ€™s the worst that can happen â€“ minimization of soreness, more relaxation, stress reduction, better sleep, etc.!
*** AS PUBLISHED BY USA Â MASSAGE SUPPLIES COMPANY as partÂ of their ‘Guest Bloggers’Â June 2011Â *********