Sports Massage is a special form of massage and is typically used before, during, and after sporting events. The overall aim is to prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries. Sports Injury Therapy can also help prevent those niggling injuries that so often get in the way of performance and achievement, whether you’re a professional athlete or a once a week jogger.
Training to enhance your sports performance means that you are always working your muscles harder and harder, so even with regular warming up and stretching sessions, your muscles are likely to become sore and tight. Tight muscles are more susceptible to both acute muscle injuries and overuse problems and they can also lose their flexibility. This can happen to Sunday morning joggers, amateurs and even professional sportsmen and women.
Sports Massage is therefore an effective therapy for releasing muscular tension and restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system. Sports Injury Therapy combines general and deep tissue manipulation with various forms of stretching techniques to loosen up tight muscles and restore muscle function.
In addition to helping you feel great, Sports Injury Therapy also has the following benefits:
- Improves endurance and performance
- Improves muscular flexibility, range and freedom of joint movement
- Relieves pain
- Reduces stress and muscular tension
- Reduces heart rate and blood pressure
- Reduces injury recovery time
- Increases blood circulation and lymph flow
- Identifies potential overuse problems before they become overuse injuries
- Speeds up the recovery process after hard training or competition
What Causes Injury?
There are various factors which can cause an injury. The main reasons are summarised below:
Everyday activity with increased load, e.g. carrying too many shopping bags may cause tension in the postural muscles of the body.
If any muscle is repeatedly asked to perform any activity to which it is unaccustomed, such as driving, DIY, or gardening, it may respond by tightening. Continued repetitive action in a work situation can also have the same effect e.g. computing etc.
Emotional and mental stress can have a negative effect on muscles which are already tight and can therefore significantly increase overall tension throughout the body.
Poor posture for extended periods of time can cause a gradual shortening and tightening of postural muscles, namely those of the neck and shoulders.
Injury – What You Should Do
Ideally, acute injuries should immediately be seen by a GP, especially if inflammation and pain continues to persist after 48 hours. However, the R.I.C.E. principal can help minimise discomfort and speed up the recovery process.
What is the R.I.C.E. principal?
REST – ICE – COMPRESSION – ELEVATION
Immediate rest will allow the muscle to begin recovery without any further damage being done.
After sustaining an injury ice should be applied as soon as possible as it will help slow down circulation, therefore reducing localised bleeding. Ice should be applied locally to the injured area, but not all the way around the limb as this will restrict blood flow. Usually ice should be applied for a period of 5 to 20 minutes and repeated every two hours. A good indicator to help judge the correct amount of time the ice should be applied for is to check the skin is pale and not red when the ice is removed. To prevent ice burn, ice should always be wrapped in a wet cloth.
To help restrict bleeding, compression should be applied at the scene of the injury and should be applied using a firm pad with strapping holding it in place. Never apply compression to the whole limb as this will starve other areas of blood. You should continue compression for a few days, gradually reducing to the wearing of a support bandage.
The injured limb should be raised higher than the torso in a position which is comfortable. This allows gravity to assist in reducing the swelling of the injured area.
The above advice is for guidance only; any serious injury should always be referred to a qualified medical practitioner.
Remedial Massage is the massage and manipulation of the soft tissue areas of the body, including muscles, ligaments and tendons. Various massage techniques are used to help increase circulation and blood supply, while breaking down fibrous areas which may have formed within the muscle, thereby alleviating pain and discomfort and assisting the body to heal.
General massage is also available, which gently eases away tension, stress and muscular aches and pains. Massage is one of the oldest medicines known to man and also one of the most effective.
Regular Massage can help relieve common physical aches and pains and helps bring the body back to optimum health and performance. Massage can help to:
- Ease back pain
- Relax muscle spasms and ease muscular tension
- Dilate the blood vessels, improve circulation and relieve congestion throughout the body
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Enhance body tissues
- Develop muscle elasticity and join flexibility
- Break down excessive scar tissue and adhesions within damaged muscles
- Prevent build up of lactic acid resulting from strenuous exercise or injury
- Improve muscle tone and help prevent or delay muscular atrophy resulting from forced inactivity
- Eliminate toxins
- Above all massage makes you FEEL GREAT!