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If you’re a fitness fanatic but a niggling sports injury means you’ve lost your get up and go, a sports massage could help you get your mojo back.
By improving muscle flexibility and blood circulation, sports massages not only help reduce swellings and repair damage once an injury has been sustained, but also help prevent mishaps from occurring in the first place. Whether you’re a Samurai warrior or prefer the calmer surroundings of a bowling green, this massage is geared toward athletes of every calibre, or those who enjoy a deeper type of massage.
Sports Massage is a special form of massage that is typically used before, during and after athletic events, however it can also be used to treat persistent troublesome areas. Depending on the needs of the athlete, a variety of techniques can be used but generally a combination of traditional Swedish Massage and Shiatsu is the preferred choice. The sports masseuse may also employ fractioning techniques which involve repeated deep pressure application to muscles and tissues in order to encourage better circulation and eliminate muscle inflammation. Something of a turbo treatment compared to the softer techniques of therapeutic massage, the pressure applied in a sports massage also promotes a faster healing time.
Don’t deliberate over what to wear when you’re having a sports massage, you will usually just be asked to remove the outer layer of clothing surrounding the area receiving treatment, so if it’s your shoulder, don’t start whipping your trousers off - that could initiate a somewhat embarrassing silence.
Carried out on a massage couch or table depending on where you’re having the treatment (ringside or room based), the therapy can take from thirty minutes to two hours.
Each activity has different demands, so sports massage therapists will design a specific course of action to address specific concerns, whether it’s a twisted knee or dodgy shoulder. As well as its direct effect on the muscles and areas addressed, the massage also reduces the heart rate and blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, reduces muscle tension, improves flexibility and relieves pain, so is great for promoting athletic endurance and performance and lessens the chance of injury.
Although it can be relaxing, sports massages may initially cause discomfort due the vigourous pressure applied to sore muscles, so if you have muscle tears, open wounds, sprained ligaments, varicose veins, thrombosis, cancer, tumours, melanoma or haemophilia, it’s probably best avoided. The therapy is also unsuitable for anyone with infectious skin diseases such as a fungal infection or herpes.
People with diabetes should be aware that sports massage will have the same effects as exercise.