Look at the training and recovery plan for any professional athlete and you’re guaranteed to find a sports massage somewhere. It’s a staple in the sports world to help aid recovery and prevent injury.
But sports massage isn’t just for elite athletes. This physical therapy can be beneficial no matter your activity level. Sports massage is ideal if you’re working out alongside a relatively sedentary desk job because these bursts of energy can sometimes leave the body more tired and at risk of injury.
Of course, sports massage can also be helpful if you’re doing any regular physical activity and want to recover faster. Keep reading to see why it should be a staple of your training routine.
What is sports massage?
Sports massage incorporates a range of massage therapy techniques, including Swedish, deep tissue, shiatsu, compression and myofascial release. The difference is that a sports massage therapist can also target specific injuries or pain, plus help improve overall physical performance.
A treatment session often starts and finishes with a brief postural assessment to ensure an improved range of movement at the end of the massage.
Deep tissue massage is quite general. But sports massage therapy is usually focused on specific movement problems or pain points. It also looks at the knots, aches, and pains that have built up over long periods.
Overall, the focus of sports massage is to improve performance rather than leave you in a state of deep relaxation.
When should you book a sports massage?
If you’re training regularly, it’s wise to add sports massage into the mix. But when? There are a few options, especially if you’re preparing for a specific event.
Sports massage therapy is ideal before or after exercise, as a restorative practice or during rehabilitation. The benefit of sports massage for athletes is that the speciality means potential problems can be found and treated before they become injuries.
Suppose you don’t consider yourself incredibly athletic. In that case, sports massage therapy is best when you’re dealing with pain or injury specific to one part of the body. For example, if you’ve pulled a muscle or feel a build-up of lower back pain thanks to a desk job.
How will sports massage help me?
When you start a new training program or increase the intensity of your workouts, you may experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). You’ll feel stiff and achy one to two days after exercise, and DOMS can last for three to five days.
Sports massage can’t prevent DOMS entirely. However, studies have shown a 20 to 30-minute massage performed immediately or up to two hours after exercise reduces DOMS for up to three days.
Sports massage targets long-term movement issues and persistent muscular pains caused by intense training or active lifestyles. It’s more targeted than any foam rolling, and you can improve your range of motion by addressing those long-term issues.
Regular sports massage helps keep your muscles healthy and relaxed, which means they’ll look after you when you’re training. If you’re training consistently without any respite for your muscles, you’ll put yourself at risk of injury and burnout.
Sports massage is an excellent addition to your workout program to help keep your body in the best shape possible. A sports massage therapist will help eliminate any niggles that crop up in your training and advise of any warning signs for future injuries.
Regular sports massage can also help reduce initial inflammation after activity or overuse. So if you’ve got a big event coming up, book yourself in for a recovery session.
Our sports massage service is carried out by highly qualified therapists, who can also use other techniques such as acupuncture and mobilisations. They are also trained to recognise, assess and treat any injuries. They can also refer you to our osteopathy team if needed.