Have you ever wondered why a sports therapist is an integral part of an athlete’s entourage from tennis players, cyclists to marathon runner’s? Professional athletes have been using the science behind a sports massage for years in fields where peak performance means everything. So what is the secret and how can we all benefit from this?
Sports Massage is not just simply poking and prodding already strained muscles but a deep soft tissue massage therapy and has many benefits for the elite to the recreational athlete.
Does it actually work?
Yes..depending on when you have the sports massage will vary your goal…
Pre-Event – Generally advised 30mins -2hours prior to an event, quick, light strokes and techniques are used to excite the nervous system to promote responsiveness, increase blood flow carrying oxygen and nutrients to the muscle fibers. This allows you to be confident that your performance is being enhanced and many add it to their pre-event routine.
Post-Event- Deeper, slower strokes encourages further blood flow to the muscles and encourages the removal of lactic acid and waste products. Post event stretching and massage promotes faster recovery time and reduced risk of injury. In fact recent research by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that it reduces the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
How will it help my training?
Train more efficiently; recover quicker, with fewer injuries…
As part of a training schedule, regular sports massage therapy is highly beneficial. Niggles from training can be addressed at an early stage preventing further more serious injury, muscle lengthening and assisted stretch can improve flexibility and blood flow is increased bringing with it fresh oxygen and removing built up waste. The pressure applied from a massage softens the fascia tissue making the muscles relax, as well as decreasing the adhesions that can be created during training where the fascia and muscles stick thus decreasing flexibility. General performance can be improved as the therapist works with you to achieve your goals.
In our opinion a sports massage is an integral part of any training plan from training in the gym, regular cyclists and tennis players to those of you already training for the London Marathon 2015.
By Kelly Palmer, Sports Therapist, Action Potential Clinic, Kingswood, Bristol. Follow Kelly and other members of the clinic on twitter and Facebook.