Sports Massage Therapy
Sports massage therapy, also referred to as deep tissue massage, is essentially the ‘manipulation of soft tissue’, (defined as moving muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue) in a range of ways. Sports massage is ideal to treat injuries, as well as being a preventative treatment, improving the health of the muscle and connective tissue. It also increases the range of movement, tone of muscle, muscle symmetry and the balance of muscle, improving the quality of posture. Sports massage is generally a deeper, firmer massage when compared to spa massage. It works through superficial muscle layers to break down any adhesions (also referred to as muscle knots) between muscle fibres, which cause muscle dysfunction. Regularly having massages can help reduce the risk of injury to those who have active lifestyles such as athletes or regular participants in sports. It can also be of great benefit to individuals who repeat the same series of movements again and again in their daily lives, such as office workers or those with manual jobs. Over time, muscle tension can increase and result in stressed joints and tendons, as well as pain within the muscle itself. Massage can alleviate or reduce this considerably.
Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy
Sports Massage can benefit anyone. The techniques can be adapted to treat all sorts of people - you don’t have to be an athlete or regularly participate in sports to have a sports massage. I have helped a range of people with very diverse problems. For example, a barber who held her arms in the air all day and suffered with a very stiff neck and shoulders; a scaffold technician with lower back pain from carrying heavy scaffold poles; a mum who carried her toddler on her hips leading to lower back pain, and of course numerous office workers who spend all day at their desks resulting in at times debilitating stiffness in the shoulders and neck. So how can massage benefit you? Increases circulation and helps remove metabolic waste from tissues Relieves tension in tight muscles Aids lymphatic flow Helps to prevent injury and in the case of injury helps to reduce recovery time Improves muscle elasticity and joint mobility Improves muscle relaxation and stress relief Reduces scar tissue Provides relief from general aches and pains Reduces cramps/spasms Assists in mental preparation for sports participation Daily factors can cause muscle tension and, if not addressed, can lead to poor posture and muscle imbalances. If this continues, over time our joints become stressed and we can experience pain in our muscle tissue itself. Regular massage can help reduce the risk of injury in those with an active lifestyle and should be seen as an essential part of any athlete’s training programme to aid recovery, improve their performance and help prevent injury.
Pregnancy massage is both lovely to do as a therapist and to receive as am expectant mother. I am often asked how a pregnancy massage is provided. On most occasions it is through side lying, however it can be delivered seated, kneeling and standing depending on what is most comfortable for you. It is also worth noting that pregnancy massage uses a different technique to sports massage and is more in line with Swedish massage techniques. It is safe to provide a massage during pregnancy once you are into your second trimester and up to the point of giving birth. Some women actually have massage whilst in labour, although I've not been asked to do that...yet. I'm also asked what the benefits are for having a massage whilst pregnant, whilst there are several these are the most prominent. Lower anxiety It’s understandable if you feel anxious during pregnancy, you’re about to bring a new life into the world, you have the stress of the birth to consider, you’ll wonder if you’ll make a good parent and the sheer scale of becoming a mum is bound to make you feel a little nervous. Have a massage, it’ll reduce those anxious feelings and help you to feel calmer as well. Improve sleep patterns Having trouble sleeping during pregnancy? It’s a common complaint. All that extra weight and your general increase in size will make it hard to sleep, why not try a massage and see if that helps? Symptoms of sleeplessness are known to decrease following a body massage. If baby is keeping you awake at night soothe them to sleep, try a massage and you’ll soon be in the land of nod. Reduce pain Gentle stimulation on the back and the legs can help to alleviate pain as well. Back pain in particular is a common problem associated with pregnancy yet a course of massage treatments has been known to reduce pain in these areas. Ease away those aches and enjoy a specialised massage, it’s a treat for you and a treat for baby as well. Decrease stress As the weeks pass and you get closer to baby’s due date your stress levels are going to rise. There’s so much to arrange and not enough time to get everything done, this is sure to increase stress no matter how relaxed you feel. Take away the tension with a massage. Give your back, shoulder and neck region extra attention or go for broke with a full body massage. You’ll feel good, baby will be happy and you’ll both be looking forward to the birth!