There can be no doubt that sports massages were originally designed with the needs of sportspeople in mind, but there is actually plenty of evidence to suggest that they can be just as effective for anyone experiencing mild pain or an injury to soft tissue.
Below are just some of the many benefits of a sports massage, whether you play sports, or not:
Through the use of manipulation and tension release, a sports massage performed by a qualified individual can help to minimize pain, especially if its cause is inflammation. Boosting circulation and speeding up healing, a sports massage given after exercise can also prevent or minimise delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS, which can occur commonly in sportspeople, or in anyone participating in a physical activity.
It’s no surprise that sportspeople tend to be more prone to injury due to muscle tightness, but it’s just as possible for a non-sportsperson to experience tight muscles and experience pain and reduced flexibility, too. By having a sports massage, soft tissues are able to extend without being strained, helping to promote flexibility and reducing stiffness. In fact, regular sports massages can help to increase the range of motion, or ROM of key joints required for optimum sports performance.
Improved sense of wellbeing
Anyone needing to relax and focus their mind on a pending task or performance (and not just a physical one), can benefit from a sports massage. During the massage, endorphins are released that can boost your mood and overall sense of wellbeing, and while athletes feel that sports massages are a vital element of their athletic wellbeing, there’s no reason why others can’t reap the physical and psychological rewards, too.
Over time, scar tissue can cause tightness over certain muscles and tendons, but a sports massage can help to break it down and limit the risk of pain or injury in that area, in the future. As you can imagine, anyone may have scar tissue, not just sportspersons.
Thanks to the relaxing and manipulative techniques used with a sports massage, tension is automatically reduced and the individual begins to feel calmer and more at ease.
Many people regularly experience painful muscle cramps and spasms, but with a sports massage that helps your body eliminate lactic acid, you can ease the pain and reduce the overall frequency of such incidences.
Reducing the risk of injury
While this hasn’t been scientifically proven, many who regularly use sports massage claim that they experience far fewer injuries, and that the time they take to recover between bouts of physical activity, is greatly improved.
Sports massages are a great way of aligning your body in such a way that you’re encouraged to fall asleep much quicker, and to have sleep of a higher quality, too.
So, whether you’re a sportsperson or a couch potato (and yes, of course there are plenty of people in between!), sports massage has a number of benefits waiting for you to discover.
Billy Gilhooley, your local Preston physiotherapist, is a primary care health professional for muscle health and well being. He provides the residents of Preston physio services involving a combination of clinical massage therapy, condition specific education and exercise prescription.