This page contains affiliate links
Regular exercise increases your energy and gives you a sense of well-being. In moderation, it helps relieve stress, and may help decrease psychological depression. It will increase strength and endurance, give you greater flexibility, and make your heart and lungs more efficient.
After exercise, however, you may feel stiff and sore and this is where sports massage is beneficial. You don’t necessarily have to be an athlete or even a weekend sports player to benefit from sports massage. This type of massage can help with preventing injuries to muscles and tendons and also with healing them. It can also be beneficial for people with injuries, or chronic pain or who have a restricted range of motion.
If, however, you have a serious injury, and you have not got a diagnosis for it, you should definitely first see a sports doctor before going for massage. Massage therapists do not diagnose. A therapist can identify and try to help with any tightness or inflammation in the body. But if the problem area does not feel significantly better by about three days after a massage, you should see a sports doctor. Once the doctor has provided you with a diagnosis (and this may involve some time and possibly X-rays or scans) the massage therapist can use massage to help you recover.
Sports massage therapy is for athletes of every kind, whether you make your living at it or you are a weekend warrior. It focuses on treating pain and soft tissue injuries that are likely to have come from recreational or professional activities. It can reduce muscle stiffness and can improve relaxation with reductions in heart rate and blood pressure.
Not Just Athletes
But it’s not only for athletes. Anyone that pushes their physical limits through any movement whether aerobic (running, cycling, etc), strength training (weight lifting, for example) or stretching can benefit from a massage. Some activities are not always classed as exercise, even though these people are also challenging their bodies. For example, gardeners, dancers, delivery workers, shelf stackers and others who may use their muscles and bend or stretch a lot in their work or everyday life.
Sports massage therapy can also be used for enhancing pre-event preparation as well as for reducing recovery time after an event. Sports massage will promote flexibility, reduce fatigue, improve endurance and boost the circulatory system. These all help with injury prevention and help produce optimal performance.
Muscle Tendon Junctions
A key benefit of Sports massage is the way it can target the muscle and tendon junctions in the body. This is important because that can improve the range of motion in the hip-flexor for example.
Not Just Before A Big Event
If you have never had a sports massage before, do not try it out for the first time just before a race or an event. Schedule it for a few weeks before. or wait until the day after. After all, just as you wouldn’t test out new socks or shoes on the day of race, (would you?) don’t try new bodywork immediately prior. Even if you have had sports massage previously, you should not have it less than 48 hours before a big event, you may get sore muscles.
Make sure you drink adequate amounts of water before going for a massage, because dehydration can stiffen the fascia and muscles. If you are well hydrated, your sports massage should be an enjoyable, relaxing and health promoting event.