Many sports massage therapists will do a by the numbers massage, giving you the same routine they gave the last person, despite your individual differences. Others will name the muscles as they work on them, or point out one or two muscles that are tight and concentrate only on these.
The human body is complex. We are all different, even though our anatomical structure is similar. Your lifestyle and genetic makeup are unique to you. Your posture, your personality, past injuries and how you use your body as a whole, should all be taken into account when you have any massage, not only for sports massage.
When I give you a massage, I consider the areas of the body and how they connect with movement and posture, rather than just a few tight muscles. I work on your connective tissue, not just muscle tissue. I completed a course in Advanced Bodywork, along with my Sports Massage course, in order to have a more in depth understanding of the way our bodies work. While I am not the sportiest person you’ll meet, I’ve worked with professional dancers and non-professional runners training for marathons, as well as people recovering from injuries or who want to keep their bodies at their peak by adding sports massage to their fitness routine.
What can sports massage do for you?
Exercise is good for the body as it improves muscle tone, aids blood circulation, improves your cardiovascular health and helps release endorphins. We aren’t perfectly designed and sometimes we need a little extra help to ease tight muscles and improve flexibility.
If you are in training and pushing yourself to achieve new goals, you may not have enough time between training sessions for your body to recover. Sports massage can help your muscles by improving circulation locally and loosening tight muscles. My clients who train for sports events have reported that having regular sports massages has helped them to avoid injury and improve their performance.
How often should you have a sports massage?
It depends on your training, your lifestyle and any pre-existing injuries. If you are in training for an event, booking a massage every few weeks is recommended. If you are not in training and simply want to keep your body healthy, the majority of my clients find booking a massage every 4 weeks helps them avoid injury.
How painful is sports massage?
Everyone has a different pain threshold and some people find sports massage very uncomfortable, especially if it’s their first massage or they haven’t had a massage for a few months but have been training hard. There a few reasons why sports massage is painful, but the main reason is that your muscles are overworked and tense and the quick route to releasing the tension is by using techniques that apply pressure to the soft tissues. Pressure on tight muscles is either felt as “good pain” or discomfort.
Most of my clients find they get used to the pain level and don’t mind the discomfort, but there are other techniques available. I am also trained in Myofascial Release, which helps to ease tension in the soft tissues and is not painful at all. I use this technique either when my client has a pre-existing injury or is very sensitive to pain. It is also very effective for easing tightness after a muscle spasm in the neck.