Playing sports is a great way to not only get fit and into shape, but to also have a lot of fun. It’s no wonder that many people play their favorite sports like basketball, football or tennis to not just keep their bodies healthy, but to also entertain themselves and maybe find new friends and build relationships.
However, there are also times when you get too fatigued or beat up after a sports activity. In that case, you may want to visit a physiotherapy clinic to get a sports massage.A sports massage is not an ordinary massage that you get in massage centers but is a specific type of massage that caters to people who do sports and are physically active. It isn’t typically a relaxing type of massage but instead is focused on stimulating specific muscles to improve a person’s overall conditioning and increase flexibility to have a better performance while doing sports.
What is a sports massage?
A sports massage is a form of massage that is specifically customized for amateur and professional athletes who want to excel in their specific sport. A sports massage session is usually given before, during and after training or a game. It’s generally an activity that aims to increase a person’s flexibility, assist in healing sports injuries and strengthen an athlete’s body to help prevent possible future injuries during a game.
There are also specific sports messages for every sport. They usually focus on the muscles that are most used for that particular sport, for example in football, sports massages usually target the ankle and knee joints to further provide better flexibility during a game.
Even if you are not a professional athlete, if you play sports regularly you can also get a sports massage to increase your sports performance and to help destress your muscles after a tough sports game.
Who should get a sports massage?
Sports massages are a lot more intense compared to the usual relaxing massages you get from a spa or massage center. It also has different goals compared to a regular massage, which are usually just to help a person relax and destress.
Sports massages are recommended for the ff. people:
- Fitness newbies –If you’ve just started on your fitness journey, don’t think that you will have no use for a sports massage. Workouts, exercises, and running can take a toll on your body especially if you’re a newcomer. A sports massage may be just what you need to help destress your muscles and reduce the discomfort or pain you may feel after an intense workout.
- Amateur and professional athletes – If you play sports regularly and join competitions, then you will reap many benefits from getting a sports massage. Whether you compete for recreation or if it’s your full-time job, it is essential that your body is in good shape and always ready to compete. Getting a sports massage will allow your body not just time to rest but also recovery.
What are the benefits from getting a sports massage?
There are several benefits for athletes when they get a sports massage, such as:
- Better sports performance – A sports massage session helps ease up your body for an upcoming sports game by increasing your flexibility and improving your body’s performance. It will also help prevent injuries that may occur during a game.
- Increase endurance and conditioning – One of the most important things for an athlete is his/her conditioning and endurance. With poor conditioning, you may get tired much more easily compared to those who have better conditioning. This can mean the difference between a win or a loss, and every way that you can get an advantage over your competition is never a bad thing.
- Increase flexibility to reduce the risk of getting injured –A lot of sports involve instant turning or changing of movement of the muscles, which can result in an injury that can sideline an athlete for a long period of time. A sports massage can help train your muscles to be more flexible and allow them better resistance from getting injured during training or a game. This makes sports massages an essential part of an athlete’s routine to make sure that he/she is always in tip-top shape for the next game.
- Shorten the recovery time of an athlete after an injury –Sports massages can help stimulate your body’s natural healing. Your physiotherapist will target specific muscles to massage that can reduce your recovery time from a specific sports injury. It can also help reduce any pain or discomfort from the injured area, and prevent or reduce soreness.
What can you expect during a sports massage?
Before your physiotherapist begins the sports massage, he/she will first talk to you and ask some questions about your health and physical activity, such as how often you work out or what sports you play. Your physiotherapist will use this information to determine a sports massage form that will best help you. You will then be asked to lie down on a massage table to get you comfortable. He/she may also apply some massage creams or oils to assist in the massage treatment.
Your therapist will then begin the massage and may utilize multiple techniques and target multiple parts of your body to stimulate. Some of the techniques used include the ff.:
- Neuromuscular method – this targets specific points in a person’s nervous system to help reduce pain and discomfort
- Soft tissue release – involves precise use of pressure along with stretching to help restore flexibility to specific muscles
- Myofascial release –the therapist targets myofascial areas that are stiff, and uses a focused pressure technique to loosen up the muscles and reduce pain
- Positional release –used to treat muscle spasms that cause pain or numbness
During the massage, you may be asked to change positions to allow the therapist to target specific muscles on your body. A sports massage is usually more intense compared to regular, relaxing massages so expect to feel a bit of discomfort during the process. If you feel any sharp pain during the massage, don’t hesitate to tell your therapist so that he/she can adjust accordingly.