Let’s start with what Sports Massage is. There are so many different types of therapies out there, all seeming to be called slightly different things. It can be confusing to me, let alone patients. I was only asked the other day by a fellow SMT, what was the difference between Dry Needling and Medical Acupuncture? The truth, not much. The company I chose to do the training with calls it Medical Acupuncture, but it is often referenced to a Dry Needling.
What is Sports Massage?
There are many forms of massage therapy – some call it an art alongside a science. There are many versatile techniques that can be used to aid with the diverse variety of issues that present in our bodies.
Treatment performed primarily with the hands is used in a systematic, scientific way to manipulate the soft tissues. Soft tissue is connective tissue that has not hardened into bone and cartilage; it includes skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. Sports massage is used to assist in correcting problems and imbalances in the soft tissues. Each stroke has a specific meaning, this is understood and worked on by the practitioner to provide sufficient aid to an injury or issue.
“massage… is a term to signify a group of procedures which are generally done with the hands such as friction, kneading, manipulations, rubbing and percussions of the external tissues of the body in a variety of ways, either with a curative, palliative or hygienic object in view”
Goldstone (1999) quoted the definition by the American physician, Douglas Graham (1884)
Below I have tried to break down the most common groups of people. I hope that you can relate to one or more and start to understand why Sports Massage may be beneficial to you. It may not be the only treatment needed and is certainly not a replacement for medical care. I’m just aiming to make things a little clearer.
• Speeds up recovery-time during intense training and helps the athlete train with less pain.
• Aids in the prevention of injuries
• Helps to eliminate stress and tension during training and pre-competition.
• Helps an athlete keep to a consistent training schedule
• Generally lengthens an athlete’s career.
• Helps improve performance during competitions.
• Helps identify tissue damage.
One word… POSTURE
• Education in how to sit, stand, breath, travel and more.
• Specific understanding as to why you have painful muscles. Active treatment plan to aid in the improvement of the issue.
• Advise is provided for self-treatment and care. In my eyes the only way to deal with posture related problems.
• Brings awareness to the actual problem and not just rub where it hurts.
• Multitude of techniques used to treat chronic or acute issues.
• Proven to ease tension, alleviate headaches, help manage stress, improve mood and general health.
• Can aid in better habits and improve other lifestyle factors.
The weekend warrior
Monday to Friday you may only do minimal activity (Walk the dog, run around after the kids, walk 10 minutes to the train station) Come the weekend… 10 hours plus decorating, 6 hours digging up a tree stump, go on a 10mile family walk, re turf the lawn, declutter the loft, 3 gym classes and a park run… sound familiar?
• Aid in muscle recovery.
• Treat microtrauma that can occur from poor biomechanics and repetitive movements.
• Release muscular spasms.
• Improve understanding of why you may have back pain after digging etc
• Analyse poor mechanics and aim to prevent injuries reoccurring
The everyday Joe
So you may not enjoy exercise, getting hot and sweaty is the last thing on your mind after a hard day’s work. You have three kids who keep you busy enough or your life it too full of other hobbies to do sport or think sports massage applies to you.
• Ease pain associated with repetitive strain injuries (drumming, painting, breastfeeding etc)
• Improves circulation and lowers blood pressure, aids with stress related issues.
• May encourage you to have better lifestyle habits. Exercise in all its forms helps our mental and physical health.
• It feels nice to have some ‘you’ time.
• Improves range of movement, often restricted by sedentary lifestyles.
Now some already associate Sports Massage Therapy or Remedial Massage Therapy with Chronic pain. Hands on manual therapy can be a great way of managing the pain or even improving it.
• Proven to aid with pain management, hands on therapy including medical acupuncture can ease pain.
• Tailored treatment plans to work on the cause of the pain and not just rub the sore bits.
• Countless patients who suffer have found benefit in my sports Massage sessions. (check my reviews)
• Lowers blood pressure, increase circulation, ease pain and improve sleep quality.
• Never underestimate the effects of massage. It’s been around for about 4700 years.