What is a sports massage? There are a number of different types of massage, including Swedish, deep tissue, aromatherapy, hot stone and shiatsu to name a few.
So what makes a sports massage different?
Well, a sports massage is the manipulation of soft tissues to specifically benefit and aid the recovery of someone involved in physical activity. It is commonly used to treat soft tissue injuries and is a major tool in treating musculoskeletal injuries and pain. A sports massage is usually deeper and applies more pressure on the muscles compared to other massage types. Although they are generally applied by hand, other body parts are often used such as the elbow, forearms and knees in some instances.
A sports massage can be performed as a full-body massage or the massage therapist may focus on the parts of the body that need the most attention. Deep pressure may be alternated with soothing strokes depending on your needs.
The stroke techniques used in a sports massage will also almost always be directed towards the heart, as this increases blood and lymph flow. This aids to speed up recovery.
A sports massage typically lasts for around 60 minutes.
A sports massage is not there to be a relaxing experience, it is performed to treat injuries and speed up recovery time from exercise or performance. Because of this, patients may bruise and feel a little sore but this will subside within 24 hours through the use of a hot bath and painkillers.
There are different kinds of sports massage, including:
Who usually gets a sports massage?
As we outlined above, sports massages help relieve tight muscles, improve blood flow, enhance flexibility, reduce pain and increase range of movement. So it is ideal for those who are involved in regular physical activity and especially for active sportspeople.
As well as active sportspeople, sports massage is ideal for those who may have a repetitive use injury to a muscle, such as what you may get from playing recreational sport or attending the gym regularly. It’s also a good option for those who are prone to injuries because it can be used to help prevent further sports injuries as it can increase flexibility. Additionally, sports massage is a good way to relieve pain, anxiety, and muscle tension.
In short, anyone can get a sports massage if they need soft tissue treatment from physical activity.
However a sports massage may not be the right treatment for those who have any pre existing illnesses or conditions. Those with any infection or illness, open wounds or burns, or any serious medial conditions may not be suitable. But don’t worry – sports massage therapists are trained to recognise when massage treatment is the right treatment, and if not they will pass you onto another health professional.
Where do I find a good Sports Massage Therapist?
This is an easy way to search for a Sports Massage Therapist in your local area. A quick Google search will provide numerous links and pages.
Groupon also do great deals and flash discounts on some sports massage treatments. Don’t think that because they’re on sale or discount means they’re not good…these are often one time deals as the therapist is hoping to get your long-term custom once you’ve sampled the discounted treatment.
This is a great way to find treatment. Many Sports Massage Therapists are now on social media as it’s a way of promoting their business, interact with potential customers (you) and share updates in real time. A simple #sportsmassagetherapy or #sportsmassage will provide loads of results. Add in your area or town to these hash tags and you should find local treatments.
Word of Mouth
This will always be a great way of finding a good sports massage. Ask people you know at the gym or your sports club for recommendations. People will usually only recommend good quality services.
For those wanting to know what it's like to run your own sports massage business, check out another one of our posts here.