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Sports Massage

An image showing a physiotherapist treat a female patient with deep tissue sports massage

What is Sport Massage?

A ‘hands on’ treatment technique employed by Chartered Physiotherapists which involves the mobilising and manipulation of the bodies soft tissue and myofascial structures. It was originally developed for athletes to prevent and relieve injuries that can manifest after repeated strenuous physical activity or injury. However both athletes and non-athletes can gain physiological and psychological benefits from receiving sports massage therapy.

Sports massage often involves a fast-paced massage, stretching and other approaches, depending upon the sport in which you participate or where your pain is (remember though, you don’t have to be a regular sports athlete to have a sports massage). It can be tailored to be used as a pre-workout stretch and opportunity to warm up the muscles or used as a post-workout massage designed to reduce soreness and increase flexibility. Whilst massage is frequently used to relax muscles, it can also be used as a pre-curser to manipulative treatments of the joints in the spine or the periphery.

Quite simply a session includes direct compression to the soft tissue, picking up and squeezing the skin and muscle, rubbing, compression, and cross-fibre friction to the problem area.

Why have a Sports Massage?

There are a number of reasons why you would want to have a sports massage, and as mentioned earlier there are not only physiological and psychological advantages, there are physical aspects to consider too which will be discussed below.

  • Pain relief – Massage can reduce the feeling of pain throughout your muscles by releasing endorphins. These endorphins which are released due to this type of massage help towards decreasing anxiety, mood improvement and pain relief.
  • Feelings of relaxation – Throughout a session, heat is generated throughout the muscle which allows them to relax.
  • Reduction in anxiety – Through the release of endorphins in muscles through heat, overall relaxation is encouraged, thus reducing anxiety levels.
  • Invigoration – As noted earlier, with massage often involving fast paced movements and stretches, this can produce a feeling of invigoration.
  • Increase in flexibility – Throughout a massage, the muscle tissue expands and stretches in a number of different ways allowing for stored pressure to be released.
  • Prevent or relieve DOMS – Otherwise known as delayed onset of muscle soreness, is assisted by the enhancing blood flow delivering fresh oxygen to the injury area.
  • Increased blood flow – The circulation of blood is enhanced to the muscle area through massage, in a similar way to exercise. The main difference being that deep tissue massage causes your blood vessels to become wider, increasing the ability of nutrients to flow through.
  • Scar tissue break down – Previous injuries may result in the creation of scar tissue and can affect muscles and tendons. An increase in scar tissue can then lead to a higher risk of injury in that area, massage has the ability to break it down.

Neil, a regular patient at our Sunderland Clinic has periodic Sports Massage with our team, which allows him to continue meeting his gym and cycling goals. Listen to his story below: