While similar in various ways to general massages, sports massages tend to be a lot more specialised and application is targeted in specific areas of the body where injuries have taken place or weaknesses have developed.
Some people mistakenly believe that sports massages will not benefit them if the sustained injury was caused during an activity unrelated to sport. However, this is not a problem and you can still benefit from sports massage techniques. The reality is, by targeting a specific problem in a localised area, which provides a highly effective method of reducing the injury, promoting normal function and aiding in the healing process.
At our sports injury clinic, one of our specialist sports masseuses will take a detailed history of the injury and any exercise or lifestyle elements that may be related to the onset of your symptoms, as well as any factors that may impact your recovery. They will then examine the area and formulate a treatment plan detailing how to treat the issue using soft tissue manipulation, mobilisation and friction work. Occasionally, they may also prescribe stretching or work for you to do at home, but this will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Sports massage is frequently used alongside osteopathy, reflexology or other forms of physical treatment to accelerate the body’s responses and aid healing. When combined, these treatments can help to normalise muscle function, reduce scarring and tissue contracture, reduce fibrosis and increase joint movement. Contact us today to get started with your recovery.
Our massage therapists are specially trained in sports injuries and work to help their patients maximise their performance whilst resolving any sports injuries. So, whether you are preparing for a marathon, an upcoming sporting event or working towards improving your general fitness, our multidisciplinary approach is key to ensuring a fast, efficient recovery to get you back to optimal health.
Responding quickly to an injury and seeking expert treatment at the earliest opportunity is proven to be the best way to a speedy return to your chosen sport or activity. If left for too long, injuries can result in longer term (chronic) loss of function and ability, often caused by a build-up of scar tissue in joints and muscles. Working to reduce that scar tissue and return normal function, therefore, is the basis of all physical therapy including sports massage.
Our clients often have questions around how sports massage can benefit them and the uses for this treatment. We’ve compiled some of the most common questions we get asked to help you understand what sports massage is, how it can help you and who can benefit from these techniques the most.
What is sports massage?
Sports massage is a method of manipulating the soft tissues around the body, focusing on muscles that are primarily used or can become injured during sport. Our sports massage therapists use various techniques and movements during a sports massage session, such as compression and tapotement (a rhythmic striking motion) to gliding, stretching and Swedish style massage movements. The techniques used are designed to help enhance athletic performance and aid recovery through physical conditioning.
Sports massage can be used for a variety of injuries and complaints, including:
- Knee injuries
- Piriformis syndrome
- Tennis or golfers’ elbow
- Frozen shoulder
- Plantar fasciitis
- Back pain
- Ankle sprains
- IT band syndrome
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Achilles tendinopathy
When should I get a sports massage?
Sports massages can be beneficial before and after you train, for different reasons and depending on the goal of your session. Before you’re competing or taking part in an athletic activity, aim to get a sports massage between two to four days prior to the event which will give your body a chance to recover from any tightness or restriction, and put you in a positive mindset for your competition. After your training, aim to get a massage within 48 hours to minimise recovery time and get your body back to full health.
What are the benefits of sports massage?
There are many reported benefits to sports massage, both psychological and physical, such as:
- Increased range of motion in your joints
- Improved flexibility
- Greater sense of wellbeing
- Reduced muscles tension and spasms
- Reduced muscle or fascial tightness, or knots and trigger points
- Relaxed nervous system
- Better quality of sleep
People may also find that they benefit from a reduced risk of injury, reduced recovery time between workouts and better circulation.
Can non-athletes get a sports massage?
Despite the name, sports massage isn’t exclusively for the benefit of athletes. In fact, anyone who exercises, such as gym goers, hikers or those who cycle regularly, can benefit from the targeted techniques used by sports massage therapists. It can also be beneficial for people who have a physically demanding job, or people who suffer regularly with muscle tightness or pain from sitting at a desk.
Sports massage can also be useful if you have been injured in the past and still experience pain or discomfort as a result of the injury you sustained. With massage, you can improve flexibility and ease tension in the muscles, which can help you manage your symptoms on a day-to-day basis.
How often should I get a sports massage?
Before you decide to book a sports massage, it’s worth talking to your therapist about the reasons for your appointment. Are you in recovery from a sports injury, or looking to prevent injury? Maybe you’ve been injured in the past and you’re keen to maintain flexibility and suppleness in your joints and muscles. Or perhaps you’re looking for muscle relief from stress and tension and are keen to enhance your general wellbeing.
Your massage therapist will be able to advise you on how often you should book sessions for your needs, but generally speaking, regular sessions will be beneficial in maintaining the positive effects of sports massage and keeping your body flexible and pain-free.
Warwick and the team have helped me get back to work, I intersperse my osteopathy with massage treatments and together they have proven so much more effective than my previous practitioner. Thanks guys!
I suffered with terrible shin splints and these are a thing of the past now Jay has worked her magic! Thanks!
The massage team at The Westway Clinic have helped my get back to the gym after struggling with various aches and pains. I’m now pain free after the gym and know my regular sessions help with my fitness regime.