WHAT IS SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY?
Sports Massage has been around for decades and is a well-established treatment for professional, and semi-professional, athletes to help them stay in peak condition. However, Sports Massage is now accessible to the mainstream; enabling everyone to recover more quickly, to treat injuries effectively, and to simply manage the physical rigours endured on a day basis as busy parents and as professionals.
Although Sports Massage utilises ‘traditional’ massages techniques it is closely linked to Swedish Massage. Swedish Massage was developed by Per Henrik Ling to help fencers and gymnasts prepare and recover for competitions. However, Sports Massage’s specific roots can be traced back to its use by soigneurs (the support crew) during arduous cycling tour races where rapid recovery is essential. It is now used to assist individuals with increasingly diverse backgrounds. For example:
· Sporting - (e.g. Swimmers, cyclists, runners, rugby players and tennis players etc.)
· Professional - (e.g. Office workers, manual labourers, warehouse workers etc.)
· Entertainers - (e.g. Musicians, dancers, and actors etc.)
· Carer - (e.g. Parents, grandparents, doctors, nurses etc).
Sports Massage harness the normal massage strokes used in ‘traditional’ massage (e.g. Effleurage, Petrissage, and Tapotement) but also utilises a number of other specific techniques used to recondition the muscles & soft tissues. For example:
· Soft tissue release
· Positional release
· Trigger point therapy
· Myofascial release
· MET & PNF stretching
Sports Massage focuses on, not only on the surface muscles, but also on the deeper underlying muscles, fascia, ligaments and tendons.
Whatever you call it, whether ‘Sports massage’ or ‘Deep tissue massage’ it’s all about what you, as an individual want to achieve from your massage. A good therapist should not only have an extensive knowledge of human anatomy, but also the practical ‘hands on’ skill to achieve what you want.
Pain and stiffness is not only caused by physical activity, it can be caused by the lack of activity. This is often the case with people who spend lots of time stuck in one position, sitting at desks or driving, for example. Muscles also tighten up when you get emotionally stressed and can often remain tight and painful for a very long time.