Sports Therapy

Anyone who routinely stretches their physical limits through activites such as aerobics, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, tennis or strength training can benefit from a Sports Massage. Sports Massage has become an integral part of new training programmes, not only with professional athletes but also with the amature trainer who is incorporating sports into their daily life. As people realise that a workout routine includes not only the exercise itself but also caring for the wear and tear that can occur with any form of exercise, from gardening at the weekend to training 5 days a week in the gym.

Sports Massage

What Happens When You Exercise?

We all hear about the physical and psychological benefits of regular exercise; improves cardi-vascular capacity, tones and strengthens muscle, increase flexibility and the production of endorphins which promote a sense of well being, creating a ‘natural high’.

These changes occur as the body adapts to the greater demands of exercise, the body improves its functioning to meet the challenges placed on it. However to make these improvements we must push the body to greater limits which can cause their own side effects. This is where Sports Massage has been proven to be of great benefit.

Sports Massage Techniques

Every activity or sport uses muscle groups in different ways. A Sports Massage Therapist will be familiar with each muscle and group and how they may be affected by the specific movements involved with the activity.
Sports Massage Therapy utilises several different techniques in order to manipulate the muscles associated with each activity. Some of the techniques include:

Deep Swedish Massage

Taking the traditional form of Swedish Massage including: effleurage, tapotement and petrissage but applying to the deeper layers of muscle fibres, not just the superficial layers.

Muscle Enery Technique (MET)

This includes a group of techniques that stretch, strengthen and break down fibrous adhesions to muscles. They involve using the clients own effort and movement to assist the therapist to manipulate the muscles.

Neuro Muscular Facilitation (NMT)

If there is any damage to a muscle’s fibres there will be a change in the tension in the tissue. This tension is controlled by the nervous system and is part of the body’s defense mechanism to prevent any further damage. The therapist will work at a neuromuscular level to relieve this tension.

Soft Tissue Release (STR)

A hybred of techniques that allow the therapist to stretch the muscles individually or in groups as required.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

By stimulating the lymphatic system the effective removal of waste products linked with exercise (such as lactic acid) is achieved.

Muscle Enery Technique (MET)

This includes a group of techniques that stretch, strengthen and break down fibrous adhesions to muscles. They involve using the clients own effort and movement to assist the therapist to manipulate the muscles.

Other

Any combination of the above can be utilised to ensure that a tailored treatment is provided, a variety of these combined with the therapists use of thumbs, elbows and forearms and adding other techniques such as vibrations, rocking, shaking and accupressure give the therapist the tools to assist with almost any client.

When Is Sports Massage Required?

Preventative Massage

The age old adage of ‘prevention is better than cure’ is the main preface to any sports massge. By preparing the body for exercise you reduce the risk of injury and are able to to work with each client to maximise the benefits of their training programme and create optimal performance through injury free training. This is usually refered to as Maintenance Massage or Preventative Massage, and is ongoing for all athletes who train on a regular basis.

Pre-Event Massage

A Pre-Event Sports Massage is given within several hours preceding an event to improve performance and help decrease injuries. It is of a shorter duration lasting between 10-15 minutes and is used as a supplement to any warm up and enhances circulation to the required muscles and reducessed mental tension prior to the performance.

Post Event Massage

As the name suggests this massage is performed after the event and is mainly concerned improving the recovery of the athlete. The massage lasts 15-20 minutes and focuses on removal of waste products and cooling the muscles down slowly. An injury that has occured during the event can also be dealt with at this stage, normally using the principles of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).

Rehabilitiation Massage/ Injury

Even with maintenance and pre and post massages eveyone suffers from injury at some time. This can appear as muscle soreness and can be caused by several factors; minor muscle damage, or spasm, build up of waste products such as lactic acid, or more severe damage such as rips or tears to muscle fibres. The Sports Massage Therapist can ascertain the possible cause of the pain or soreness and treat many of the injuries using a combination of the techniques discussed (see above). Any undiagnosed injury may be referred to medical care if deemed appropriate.