Fact: The ancient Greeks and Romans combined massage and exercise in their athletic training. Concept moved to Europe and the United States in the 1970s.
Therapy Type: Bodywork
WHAT EXACTLY IS SPORTS MASSAGE?
Massage therapy aids in the relief of pain from injuries, stress and muscular tension, whilst also accelerating the healing process from certain intense and chronic conditions. Massage encourages the circulation of blood and lymph around the body, supplying fresh oxygen and other vital nutrients to affected tissues. Furthermore massage enables the body to flush out toxins, which supports and boosts the body’s recovery process.
Most top performing athletes utilize the benefits of sports massage therapy for boosting performance, supporting recovery from injuries, increasing their range of motion and re-establishing flexibility within the body. Sports massage is a procedure that includes techniques from Swedish and Deep tissue massage, which have been adapted to combat intense physical stress on the body. Treatment is often combined with remedial massage to assist the healing and rehabilitation of injuries as well as facilitate movement.
Releasing toxins from the body also promotes faster recovery from injury and the removal of lactic acid buildup from tired muscles.
A sports specific massage can be beneficial to athletes at various stages of participation. These phases include training or conditioning, pre or post competition and injury prevention or injury recovery.
You do not need to be a sports performer to benefit from a sports massage as the physical advantages are just as relevant to an office worker crippled by a sore lower back as they are to an Olympic athlete suffering a torn muscle.
Sports Massage may benefit the following physical and mental conditions:
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM SPORTS MASSAGE SESSIONS
Sessions typically last between 45 minutes and 1 hour although you should expect the first session to be longer as your therapist will ask you about your medical history along with other relevant health and lifestyle details. They will also examine your body for any muscular imbalances. From this feedback the therapist can then put together a profile for you and tailor your massage to suit. Your massage will take place in a warm, comfortable and relaxing environment.
The therapist commonly uses a technique called ‘effleurage’ at the outset of your massage. This technique involves a range of stroking movements, using the fingers and palm of the hand. This technique enables the therapist to increase blood flow and warm the tissues of the body, whilst you can become accustomed to the massage experience. During this process the therapist will become aware of any problem areas, ensuring that less pressure is used later. The therapist may then use a kneading technique called 'petrissage'; employed to reach the deeper tissues, aiding relaxation, extending muscle fibers and activating fluids.
Following the kneading patterns, a 'frictions' technique is used to break down lesions or scar tissue and separate muscle fibres. This technique can cause discomfort, or be somewhat painful, if at any point you feel uncomfortable inform your therapist and she will lighten the pressure.
After a treatment, most people feel very relaxed and experience freedom from their habitual aches and pains. However, following an episode of experiencing sluggishness, an improved sense of awareness, energy and efficiency occurs which can be present for a few days. As with all massage toxins are released from soft tissues, so your therapist will advise you to drink ample amounts of water following your treatment.
FINDING A QUALIFIED MASSAGE THERAPIST
Most people find Sports Massage Therapy deeply relaxing and enjoy the tension it releases throughout the body. It is also extremely safe when carried out by a qualified therapist. It is wise to carry out some research and select a therapist who is either a member of, or accredited by, an association or professional body such as the Massage Association of New Zealand (MNZ). Remedial Massage Therapists are obligated to a code of ethics and procedure that determines the therapy is carried out in a suitable and safe environment. These regulations also guarantee a specialist who has undergone certifiable training and receives professional upskilling.
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