Sports Massage to Improve Your Life…
So me and my wife had a joint massage last week. Steph, a good friend (and qualified therapist I might add) popped over to give us both a good working over. Jess was stressed from work and an increased training load since going freelance, and I felt like a human pretzel from too much martial arts and grappling practice with some younger, faster, stronger athletes… About 90 mins later after Steph had rubbed, elbowed and manipulated our joints in a way that would make some people wince, we were both feeling 100% better. I am pretty sure I might have even got back to my proper height of 6ft* after feeling like a human accordion for the last month.
If you have never had a good proper sports massage I think you’re missing out. Now a mainstay of all competitive sports people and even some casual weekend warriors, sports massage (SM) is widely accepted now as being an important part of physical training, and is even being rolled out across many parts of the corporate world to help relieve stress. So we are going to dedicate this blog post to try and answer the question: “What can sports massage do for you?”
What is Massage?
Massage is a “hands-on” treatment in which a therapist manipulates muscles and other soft tissues of the body to improve health and well-being. Varieties of massage range from gentle stroking and kneading of muscles and other soft tissues to deeper manual techniques. The main purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s muscles during training. When we train we are basically damaging our muscles in order for them to grow back stronger. Micro tears or lesions can impair the muscle post training. , massage aims break them down quickly and effectively. thus draining away fatigue, relieve swelling, reduce muscle tension, promote flexibility and to prevent injuries.
Does it work?
HMMMMMMM (Puts science hat on) While most of the research done in SM is pretty inconclusive, it would appear the general idea is that we over emphasise the physical benefits of SM. i.e. In a laboratory, its hard to prove that it works. HOWEVER – All the research I have read is pretty conclusive in agreeing that SM has HUGE psychological benefits to athletes. I.e. People who have SM report:
Decreased perception of DOMS – delayed onset of muscle soreness, or the stiffness and pain you might feel 24-48hrs after a tough workout
Increased perception of recovery – YOU will actually feel better post SM
Increase reporting of ‘feel good factors’ – i.e. people feel better after SM
These are all thing I can personally agree with. Although you shouldn’t take my word for it, everyone is different and it would appear that SM has a wide range of effectiveness for different people. For me personally, I always feel better, looser and way more relaxed. Maybe this is placebo, maybe my body is genuinely better. Thats up for the sport scientists to decide. All I can say is if you’re feeling tired from training, stressed from work, or like me someone has been trying to make mincemeat out of you on the wrestling mat, then perhaps give Steph a call. Try SM in these common scenarios:
1. Pre-event sports activities massage — a brief, stimulating massage 15 – 45 minutes just before the event. It truly is directed toward the parts in the entire body that can be associated with the exertion. An excellent physical and mental warm-up.
2. Post-event sports massage — given inside an hour or two of the event, aimed to normalize the body’s tissues.
3. Restorative sports massage — given during training cycles or ‘everyday activities’ to allow the athlete to train at a more difficult level and with much less injury. Schedule this in your diary at recurring times.
4. Rehabilitative sports massage — aimed at alleviating ache as a result of injury and returning your body to well being.
So there you have it. A brief rundown on Sports Massage. To book Steph, please drop us an email at the gym or call us to book a session. I’ll put money on it you won’t regret it.
*I’ve never officially been measured over 5’11. But I always think its best to round upwards.