Since we're in the full swing of football season, I decided to share a little bit of information on Sports Therapy. Sports massage is designed to assist in correcting problems and imbalances in the soft tissue that are caused by repetitive and strenuous physical activity. It works deep into the muscles realigning the fibers and connective tissues, flushing away the toxins. Regular sessions will increase joint mobility and flexibility and reduce the risk of injury during exercise or heavy activity.
Initially, your Massage Therapist will be looking at 3 things: timing, the techniques needed to be used, and intent.
Timing refers to when the massage is given: pre-event, post-event, during recovery, during maintenance, or after an injury that requires rehabilitation. Technique refers to what application you will need from the therapist. Intent refers to your reasons for the treatment such as a warm-up, to increase blood flow, to aid in your recovery, or to increase your flexibility and strength. So in this process you need to be as open as possible so that your therapist can best build your time together to get to the end goal correctly and efficiently.
Though sports massage is going to be a rather deep and focused session, there are a lot of similarities to regular massage therapy. So if you're not active every single day or participating in frequent sports games, don't think that you have to sit on the sidelines for this type of massage. Certain techniques such as friction, kneading, long deep strokes used over an area to broaden muscles and release toxins, are all used in sports massage as well, just as they are in regular massage therapy. The difference you may ask, are techniques that are very deep inside the muscle causing less pressure on the joints in the area being worked on. Not only are specific muscles targeted, the soft tissue, ligaments and tendons are being manipulated. Just like regular massage therapy targets relief of tension and stress in areas of the body, sports massages intent is to soften tissue and increase blood flow to avoid injury.
It's benefits are to decrease muscle tension, help athletes monitor muscle tone, increase relaxation, increase range of motion, decrease muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise, enhance performance and help prevent injury when massage is given on a regular basis. Again, you do not have to be heavily into activity to enjoy sports massage, just be aware it will be a more focused session, working deeper into muscles to decrease the tension build up and increase the flexibility.
Hopefully you have learned a little more on the differences of this type of massage and what it can bring to your life. Whether it be that you are an active runner, in sports every weekend, sit all day at work or are just highly stressed, you will get so much out of sports massage!