Q. 1: How does sports massage work?
Sports massage is also known as Deep Tissue Massage. It can help reduce tension and muscle stiffness and release soft tissue adhesions. They are scar-like formations, the result of acute soft tissue damage owing to repetitive stress injury or even from chronic overload or overtraining or poor posture. As an athlete, you can find yourself involved in activities that lead to repetitive movements of joints and the soft tissues of the body. It can also help the body to overcome microtrauma which can build up in the tissue of the muscles. Over time, they can develop into tightness and areas of tension and can cause pain and affect performance. The deep tissue techniques of sports massage can help to release this tension and reinvigorate the body. The technique increases blood flow in that area of the body. This helps the body to repair itself and eventually to heal in an optimal manner.
Q. 2: What are the types of sports massage?
There are several types of sports massage. These types include:
- Pre-event Massage – This is a massage in the lead up to a big sports event. It could be a race, a match or an athletics event. The pre-event massage could be administered a few days or even a few hours before the event. Pre-event massage is usually energising and not too deep. It simply prepares the muscles and joints to get into the best possible condition for the upcoming event.
- Post-event massage – Post-event massage is often made available after sports events. This helps the athlete to recover. As well as treating emerging problems that may have appeared in the race, it will soothe and ease tired muscles. It also helps prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Stiffness (DOMS) which can occur in sportspersons and athletes after sports and athletic events.
- Maintenance Massage – It doesn’t matter what level of athlete or sportsperson you are, Maintenance Massage is something to consider adding to your training regime. This treatment helps to treat tissue that has become tight and painful. It can, of course, help to improve performance and prevent injury.
- Injury treatment – Sports massage can be part of the therapy to treat specific soft tissue injuries. It helps to reduce recovery time. Every good sports massage therapist has knowledge of techniques to treat injury. Such techniques include trigger point therapy, different muscle energy techniques and kinesiology taping.
Q. 3: Who can benefit from sports massage?
This therapy can benefit a wide range of patients. Whether you’re a top athlete, a busy mother or a retired person, you can benefit from a sports massage. Conditions that respond well to treatment include:
- Tennis elbow
- Tension headaches
- Pain in neck and shoulders
- Pain in the upper and lower back
- Knee pain (runners knee)
- Shoulder pain (swimmers shoulder)
- Tight calves/hamstrings/IT Band Syndrome
- Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) in the hands, wrists and forearms
- Golfers elbow
- Plantar fasciitis
Q. 4: When should I have a sports massage?
In an ideal situation, everyone would have a massage on a weekly basis. This would flush out microtraumas before they evolve into problems and keep the muscles in optimal shape. The truth is, however, that most of us will only start looking for this therapy when a problem has emerged. Usually, it takes much longer to treat a fully-developed injury than it does to treat an early-stage problem. If you feel that you have a problem in the making, you should arrange an appointment at the earliest possible opportunity. You will be thankful of money well spent and proud of yourself for being proactive and not reactive.