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Massage and its benefits
In this blog, ESPH massage therapist Petr Dobes discusses how sports massage is not just for athletes and the fact that people with musculoskeletal problems, chronic pain, injury or dysfunction caused by stress can benefit from sports massage too.
What is Sports Massage?
Sports Massage is a deeper more specific form of massage that uses advanced soft tissue manipulation to improve performance, injury recovery and injury prevention. It is advisable to have regular massages to keep your muscles injury and stress free. This can make a big difference to your training, performance and your wellbeing. The benefits include:
- Improved circulation to tight and / or overworked muscles. Increased blood flow can help muscles to contract more effectively, deliver more nutrients and wash away any waste products from muscle exertion, which can help to speed up recovery.
- Break up scar tissue and adhesions, which can restrict muscle movement
- Improved range of motion
- Help to reduce tension in muscles and fascia by releasing trigger points
- Reduce delayed onset muscles soreness (DOMS)
- Improved relaxation and release feel good hormones
This includes regular treatments as part of your training programme to keep muscles supple and to stay clear of injury. Massage will generally be deeper to break down any scar tissue or adhesions, which releases trigger points and tightness within muscle or fascia. Muscles free of tension will help you to have better range of motion, which will help you perform more efficiently. If training for a particular event it pays to be organised, so do try to book fortnightly 45-minute sessions. For preventative measures, it may help to spread your massages out to one 60-minute session per month.
Rehabilitative massage can help treat a wide range of soft tissue injuries and it is good to have sports massage in conjunction with seeing your physiotherapist to help aid recovery. Treatment will focus on your whole kinetic chain rather than one individual muscle due to the connectivity of fascia throughout body. These sessions can be shorter, around 30 minutes, and will need to continue for a period of 4 -8 weeks depending on your condition.
Pre-event massage can be performed 2 – 3 days prior to your event. This sort of massage is not as deep as your maintenance massage, with the main aim being to help blood flow into your muscles and maintain flexibility.
Post Event massage
It is highly recommended that you have a massage after a high intensity event. The massage can be performed immediately after your event followed by another session 2 – 3 days later. This sort of massage will be light and gentle to flush any waste toxins and help speed up your recovery.
You can self-massage your muscles with foam rollers, spikey balls and massage sticks, which can work very well for maintenance and can act as a handy tool throughout your rehab. However, you may still find working with a sports massage therapist more beneficial as they will be able to work more specifically on the target tissue.