Sports Massage Therapy

By Chloe Morrisby

Shoulder massage, Image from Pixabay

Originally, Sports Massage Therapy was designed to assist athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance during a fixture, enhance their training and aid in post event recovery. 

Sports Massage is a form of deep tissue massage that focuses on the prevention and healing of muscle and tendon injuries through targeting specific areas of chronic tension and soft tissue injuries. This therapeutic tissue manipulation results in muscular relaxation. It has been beneficial to both athletes and people suffering from chronic pain and tension, restricted range of motion and injuries. 

Chronic tension describes the state of muscles that are constantly stressed and rarely fully relax. This tension leads to chronic pain. This can increase the risk of injury, reduce performance ability, decrease the effectiveness of training regimes as well as impact the quality of one’s daily living. 

Soft tissue injuries refer to the varying degrees of damage to muscles, tendons, fascia, and ligaments. Although they are predominant in sport, soft tissue injuries and/or chronic tension are also a common occurrence among gym users and people with active lifestyles. This is attributed to the often aggressive and repetitive movement of various muscles during training sessions.

Occupation, posture and stress are some common examples of the numerous lifestyle contributors to chronic tension. The most prevalent of these is stress which anyone who operates in a highly demanding working or home environment is prone to.  A remedy to this is a regular deep tissue massage.  The stimulation from the massage releases chronic tension, encourages overall body relaxation and aids the removal of waste products. 

Active older persons are likely to suffer from chronic tension. It can be the result of long term chronic tension due a postural deviation, age-related wear and tear or previous injury. These factors increase the risk of injury. A regular massage would aid to relieve chronic tension and pain allowing a person to continue their training and enjoying their sporting activities. 

Five sports people weighed in on their perceptions of sports massage in relation to their disciplines and soft tissue injuries.  From the perspective of a personal trainer, encouraging muscles to relax after training is key to lessening the risk of injury. Undergoing regular massage would improve recovery time after strenuous training sessions or games as well as aid in the body’s elimination of waste products, thus lessening the after-effects of exercise.

Depending on the nature of the injury and how long the rider has had it for, show jumpers would greatly benefit from a deep tissue massage as it contributes to reduced healing time. These were similar sentiments shared by one rugby player who has frequent deep tissue massages. They have proved beneficial in managing the strain which this demanding sport places on the body.

Sports massage helps with tissue injuries,Image from Pixabay

In footballers, there is the perception that chronic tension in the muscles causes chronic pain. This in turn increases injury risk due to tension in the muscles. Targeting reducing this tension through sports massage helps to keep these athletes in fighting form. Golfers’ chronic pain mainly occurs in their back. This stems from all of the rotation and torque required to affect the ‘perfect’ swing. In the more senior players, chronic pain is often present in the rotator cuffs, elbows and knees which often arise from the aggravation of old injuries.  Sports massage helps to alleviate these pains thus allowing golfers to “drive for show and putt for dough.”

Photograph provided by Chloe Morrisby

Images from Pixabay.

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