Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy
“Keep a machine in a good working order and it will serve you well”.
The Sports Massage Association defines sports massage as “the application of soft tissue techniques with the aim of managing, manipulating and rehabilitating muscles, tendons and ligaments” – this essentially means all the soft tissue in the musculoskeletal system.
Massage is the earliest form of physical therapy on record. It was used and documented as early as 3000 years ago. Athletes have been using it for decades to improve their athletic performance. The 1924 Olympics brought sports massage into the spotlight when Paavo Nurmi, the “Flying Finn” won 5 gold medals in one day, and word spread that massage treatments were a part of his training regimen.
Sports massage is commonly used to improve athletic performance, prevent injuries and shorten recovery time from injuries. Sports massage may include some aspects of the other types of massage, but mainly focus is on athletic performance. Sports massage may be used before training or competition, during the training, and post-training or competition.
The timing of the massage depends on the goals of the treatment and the training schedule of the athlete. Sports massage usually focuses on the muscle groups, or individual muscles involved in the training or injury, although general relaxing massage may be used at the end of the day or training cycle.
Massage for individuals may be indicated to reduce recovery time after intense workouts, help maintain the body in generally better condition, prevent injuries and loss of mobility, cure and restore mobility to injured muscle tissue, boost performance and extend the overall life of your sporting career.
Difficulty in relaxing or resting between workouts may lead to overuse, stress, injuries or illness. Massage increasing blood flow to the muscles helps increase strength and flexibility in the muscles. Other conditions that may cause pain, stiffness or weakness in the muscles may benefit from massage as well.
Some of the Benefits of Sports Massage
- Improved circulation. The blood flow is improved to the areas that are massaged. Improved circulation helps to remove waste products and toxins often produced in working or injured muscles. This increase in circulation helps provide the nutrients needed for recovery and building of new muscle tissue.
- Improved proprioception. Massage helps to improve the muscle-memory link and therefore improves fine and gross motor control. Knowing the position of the body, and its parts in relation to each other, is an important aspect of any sport activity.
- Increased joint mobility. When the joints or the muscles surrounding them are traumatized or overworked, they tend to become stiff and lock. Massaging the muscles and soft tissues around the joint may help relax the joint and improve ROM.
- Increased suppleness and efficiency in the muscles, tendons and ligaments. This decreases the chances of injuries and improves the recovery from injuries.
- Pain reduction. Massage helps relieve painful muscle spasms and cramping. It also helps increase blood flow to peripheral nerves that may be damaged from injury.
- Inflammation and swelling reduction. Massage above and around an injured area may help reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Post injury treatment. Many injuries, especially soft-tissue injuries, will benefit from massage treatments, especially during recovery time. Massage helps to break up scar tissue and deficiency that often cause stiffness and pain during recovery time. It helps athletes return to a normal range of movements quicker.
- Relaxation. The reduction of pain and stiffness helps bring body and mind to a state of relaxation.
Sports massage should play an important role in the life of any sportsman or woman whether they are injured or not.
Having Sports Massage Therapy as a part of your training programme offers you a range of benefits including: reduced muscle stiffness and soreness, faster recovery from intense exercise and the ability to train more frequently, as well as improved posture and injury prevention.
Joanna Skowronska is a Clinical and Sports Massage Therapist who specialise in the treatments of chronic pain conditions and muscular pain based in London – Fulham. She works with her clients to help facilitate their bodies own healing through bodywork, exercise and education.
If you would like to get more information or need to book an appointment, please call Joanna 07526 177 323 or email: