Massage has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of illness and injury by health care practitioners, including musculoskeletal injuries, cancer, stress, relaxation and pregnancy. The history of sports massage started back in 1924, at the Olympic Games in Paris when runner Paavo Nurmi brought a massage therapist along with him! He went on to win 5 gold medals and claimed that his training regime included this specialised type of treatment.
What does it involve?
A variety of techniques can be used within a massage, depending on the therapist level of experience. Common techniques include: effleurage (sliding/gliding movements), petrissage (tissue kneading/scooping), tapotement (rapid striking), trigger point release, vibrations (shaking the tissue), and much more! Sessions typically last between 30-60 minutes.
Is it painful?
Compared to other relaxation massages, yes, a sports massage can be more uncomfortable. This is because it is working deeper into the tissue layers and releasing any adhesions such as trigger points. Side effects usually last around 24-72 hours, which can include stiffness, and slight bruising, but after this period, or even immediately after treatment, you will start to see the benefits…
So what are the benefits?
Sports massage helps prepare an athlete for competition, to enhance athletic performance, and used as a treatment approach to help recover after exercise. There are many other effects of massage and the reasons why we utilise it as a treatment, and here are a few of them:
- A pre-event massage decreases pre-competition anxiety and prepares the muscles for competition
- Helps alleviate stress
- Reduces muscular tension
- Improves muscular flexibility and joint range of motion
- Helps facilitate the removal of lactic acid, which is produced after exercise and contributes to the pain and soreness that you feel after physical activity
- Increases the parasympathetic activity by reducing heart rate, reducing blood pressure and increases relaxation substances such as endorphins
Sports massage is also a brilliant tool to help a variety of injuries, all over the body! I have used these techniques to treat a range of issues such as:
- Neck pain
- Shoulder injuries such as impingement and bicep tendinopathies
- Tennis elbow (extensor tendinopathy)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lower back pain
- Knee injuries such as ligament sprains, maltracking of the patella
- Ankle sprains
And many more injuries!
However, research has shown that a multimodal approach achieves better outcomes, versus those who only receive one treatment modality. For instance, combining education about posture/body mechanics, performing rehabilitation exercises and receiving treatment such as massage, produces better and faster results.
So, if you are suffering with some aches and pains, and looking to book in for a sports massage, please do not hesitate to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us by clicking here.
Brummitt, J. (2008). The role of massage in sports performance and rehabilitation: current evidence and future direction. North American journal of sports physical therapy: NAJSPT, 3(1), 7.
Pulling Back the Curtain: A Look at Sports Massage Therapy. Steve Jurch, MA, ATC, LMT
Weerapong, P., Hume, P. A., & Kolt, G. S. (2005). The mechanisms of massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery and injury prevention. Sports medicine, 35(3), 235-256.