What is sports massage?

It is a type of massage which is taught as a part of the syllabus in degrees such as Physiotherapy, Sports Therapy or Sports Rehabilitation. The qualification of sports massage therapist may also be obtained doing a separate course at level 3, 4 or 5. Because there are no laws to protect the public from incompetence of certain therapists, make sure to check that your therapist is registered with an appropriate governing body which shows that the therapist is professional, committed and has required qualifications to deliver a treatment of a good standard.

What are the benefits of sports massage?

There are several benefits of sports massage. Those include:

  • Relaxation.
  • Release of muscle tension and spasm.
  • Release adhesions. 
  • Break down scar tissue.
  • Improved circulation.
  • Increase the range of motion of joints. 
  • Improves muscle flexibility.
  • Helps to alleviate delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) after physical activity.
  • help to manage anxiety and stress. 
  • Helps to warm up and cool down.
  • Increases efficiency of recovery after an injury when used with an appropriate rehabilitation program.

What kind of massage is sports massage?

Sports massage can be relaxing, deep or revitalising depending on the desired outcome of the treatment. Techniques applied are effleurage, petrissage, tapotement and friction. Hence, from the technique perspective, it can feel very similar to Swedish or deep tissue massage. 

  • Effleurage – your therapist uses gentle and soothing strokes over the skin to warm up muscles and get them ready for deeper work.
  • Petrissage – is kneading and wringing of the muscles whilst applying a deep pressure. It helps to loosen the muscle tension and improves circulation.
  • Tapotement – is a percussion technique. Your therapist applies it using her/his  fingers, the edge of the hands or cupped hands. This type of technique helps to revitalise the worked muscles, increase the excitability and warm them up to prepare them for a physical activity.
  • Friction – your therapist focuses and applies deep pressure on a specific area of the muscle. It helps to break down adhesions and scar tissue as well as loosen off tight muscles.

Is sports massage relaxing?

Usually, sports massage is applied to help loosen the muscle tension or help with recovery after an injury which makes it uncomfortable, hence, less relaxing. However, if your main goal of the session is to relax, treatment can indeed be tailored to your needs and applied in such a manner which will not be uncomfortable and will feel relaxing.

When should I avoid having a sports massage?

You should avoid having a sports massage on the areas where you have open cuts or wounds, new injury which has not been diagnosed yet, skin conditions such as eczema or phlebitis, burns, fractures, recent operations or metal plates. 

Also, you must inform your therapist if you have any of the following as it might be a total contraindication meaning that sports massage is not the best form of alternative therapy for you at the time.

  • Heart conditions.
  • Cancers or tumours diagnosed and undiagnosed.
  • Deep vein thrombosis.
  • Haemophilia.
  • Contagious illnesses/diseases.

What are common injuries sports massage can help with?

Sports massage helps aid recovery after experiencing an overuse injury such as any type of tendinopathies or muscle strain injuries. Also, you can use it as a complementary modality  when recovering after more severe injuries which may require prolonged inactivity, rehabilitation or operation by increasing circulation and reducing muscle spasm which may have occurred due to an injury. This helps to regain range of motion and reduce pain or discomfort you might be experiencing.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you need advice or have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. We are always happy to help. If you like this blog, please share!




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