Sports massage is simply a deep tissue massage that aims to massage and manipulate the muscles, stretch out the fascia, and work remedially to ease tightness and restrictions. Clients are often rightly confused by such terms as ‘NMT’ (Neuromuscular Technique), ‘STR’ (Soft Tissue Release), and ‘Myofascial Release’ – but really these are technical terms – and the understanding of such terms is mostly relevant to the sports massage therapist rather than the client (unless of course you are interested!). Such techniques form part of a toolkit the massage therapist can use to work in a way that suits the individual client. Some of these techniques involve the client being active (ie actively getting involved with the stretching) this can be useful, but also tiring for someone that’s had a long day in the office. A good sports massage therapist will know when their client could benefit from something that is just as effective, but requires less hard work on the part of the client.
The main purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension, which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity.
Massage will help to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility, to help prevent injuries and, in the case of sports people, help prepare for peak performance. Sports massage can help prevent those niggling injuries that so often get in the way of performance and achievement, whether a person is an athlete, a once a week jogger or just physically active. Received regularly this may help athletes prevent injuries, which might otherwise be caused by overuse.
A constant build-up of tension in the muscles from regular activity may lead to stresses on joints, ligaments, tendons, as well as the muscles themselves. Sports Massage can be used to treat the stress, tension and fatigue that occurs through occupational, recreational or sporting activities. It can also be beneficial to:
- Help relieve that stress and tension which can hinder optimal performance.
- Reduce the likelihood of injury during exercise.
- Speed up the recovery process and aid rehabilitation after injury.
- Ensure full range of movement and increase muscle flexibility.
- Improve postural and general body awareness.
For the more serious athletes sports massage can help at the different stages of participation. For Example:
- Pre competition
- Inter competition
- Post competition
- Injury Recovery
- Injury prevention