Whether you’re an athlete or have back pain from your computer job, Sports Massage can help.
It doesn’t matter if you strain your neck crawling through the mud of a Spartan Race or your back hurts from poor posture after 8 to 10 hours a day behind a computer. Whatever the case, a sports massage will help you feel better. That’s why professional sports teams depend on this massage modality – it speeds up the healing of injuries every time.
For those who love athletic activities and like to challenge their bodies with rigorous, demanding sports, massage can help to reduce pain and lessen the impact of an injury. Often it’s used before an event to warm up or afterward to cool down.
For those of us who don’t have time for sports, whether we have children, a demanding job, or we’re remodeling our house, we still need a good massage. Having a massage therapist target the muscles and fascia that need lengthening and softening will reduce our soreness and pain and can significantly improve how we feel.
We all need help once in a while to calm down, relax and forget our stress. That’s one reason we come for a massage, our anxiety levels drop way down after the right treatment. Plus, we find we sleep better.
What exactly IS Sports Massage?
Overall, sports massage tends to be more specific. It’s more targeted than the relaxation or Swedish massages you might get at a spa or on vacation. Usually, there is deeper pressure as well, depending on you.
Your therapist can tailor it to your exact therapeutic needs and trouble spots. They can also use this style of massage to address tense, overworked muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which cause tightness, stiffness, and pain. Those with more experience and knowledge about sports massage can use it for prevention and maintenance.
If you are a weekend athlete or a driven pro, you will probably use sports massage around your different events or competitions. Or, around your weekends of extra strenuous fun and excitement if you’re a dedicated amateur.
Don’t wait for an injury!
Five ways Sports Massage can help keep you thriving
Let’s start with neutralizing stress so we can calm down, sleep better and enjoy our life!
Yes, life is stressful. So how do we go from being stressed to creating the calmness and the energy we need? What is the life-saving antidote to the poison of stress?
There are a few proven ways to reduce and even eliminate the effects of stress on our bodies. Taking slow, deep breaths will push aside the stress reaction we have so often in our daily life. Eating our meals sitting down in a peaceful environment will help our body’s all-important digestion.
Getting a sports massage will work on soothing the stress in the muscles so that you can relax. It will encourage your body to release its own mood-lifting neurotransmitters, dopamine, and serotonin, which reduce anxiety.
After bodywork, our body’s fight or flight nervous system can switch off, which allows us to release the iron grip we have on our shoulder muscles. Then the rest and digest nervous system can take over. Finally, you get a good night’s sleep and wake up with the feeling – I love my life!
Two, reduce and eliminate pain and inflammation!
Many clients complain of back or joint pain. They come to a sports massage feeling almost hopeless from the pain. They have tried everything and are dumbfounded at how much improvement they feel in just one massage!
This quick progress in pain relief occurs because the pain is there for reasons that targeted massage will address. The rationale is that the massage will zero in on the soft tissues like muscles and tendons since they are often the causes of pain. It hurts when these soft tissues tighten, shorten, and pull the body’s structure and joints out of alignment. Fortunately, these tissues respond well to skilled massage therapy.
Specific, targeted massage can correct the underlying source of the pain in the soft tissues by lengthening and soothing overworked tight muscles and fascia. This return to proper muscle length helps the body restore its natural balance and regain pain-free movement and function.
Third, prevent muscle soreness following intense exercise or activity.
Sports massage can help prevent stiffness and soreness, which can come a few hours to a few days after unusually intense exercise. This type of painful stiffness usually occurs after a rigorous workout or sporting event and is known as DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.
Most professional, if not all sports teams, give their athletes a post-event massage after competition to reduce the duration of DOMS. These massages after the event help soften and soothe those muscles which have skated down a razor’s edge between maximum muscle output and an overuse injury!
Fourth, improve and restore flexibility and mobility.
Many of us who love to be active and often push ourselves can sometimes wake up in the mornings and notice stiffness in our joints; our spine, hips, legs, and arms.
These unpleasant feelings of stiffness often accompany tight and tense ligaments and muscles caused by too much sitting at a computer and too many repetitive motions. Or, the stiffness can happen from overdoing tennis, soccer, or a Saturday afternoon, long bike ride.
Once you get the best massage for you, with the result of increased blood flow, your stiff joints and muscles will become warmed up and flexible. Similar to the feeling after a luxurious hot bath. The deep, relaxing, specific bodywork will warm and soothe away the stiffness and restore your full mobility.
Fifth, sometimes we learn the hard way – we injure ourselves and want to speed up our healing.
You know it immediately from the sharp pain in your thigh – you strained your hamstring muscle. The muscles you told yourself to stretch pre-event! And forgot. Well, we are all human, and we all get injured now and then. Thankfully, one main benefit of sports massage is it drastically speeds up the healing time for an injury.
How does a massage speed up healing? By improving the functioning of the body’s TWO circulatory systems – one for the blood and the other for the lymph fluid. These two fully independent networks of tubes and vessels are how we nourish each and every cell with fresh oxygen, food, and water.
Equally crucial to delivering nutrients is how these two systems clean up and remove any trace of foreign objects, metabolic waste, and extra gunk floating around. When a muscle is damaged, which they all are during intense exercise or long periods of slouchy posture, these two circulatory systems are needed to help remove damaged cell parts and provide for optimum rebuilding and renewal.
In short, these two circulation systems are vital to rebuilding and repairing after an injury. This is why massage therapists suggest a massage followed by a hot bath with Epsom salts – to increase circulation and cellular detoxification.
At East Bridge Massage, a Sports Massage can be much more effective!
You will find some of the best therapists near you by going to East Bridge Massage. You will experience our therapists as knowledgeable and experienced in sports massage techniques, so they can help you in all the ways we have mentioned.
What makes our sports massage so much more beneficial is our ability to draw on a large tool chest of effective massage techniques. These tools help add to and enhance your sports massage. For example, we may feel in certain situations that some deep tissue massage and perhaps some Ashiatsu is called for to increase the beneficial results of the session.
Many of our clients find that a little trigger point therapy and perhaps a few minutes of cross-fiber/friction therapy will amplify the results of the massage. In addition, clients will sometimes request some time be spent on myofascial release and cupping during their massage for the great, quick results they know are possible.
No matter what you are coming in for, our experienced therapists can draw on various modalities and techniques to get you out of pain and back in the game!
Writing by P. D. Black, LMT, Freelance Writer