Sports Massage

Sports Massage (What is it and why have it?)

Many injuries are caused by overuse, trauma or repetitive strain, such as, carpel tunnel syndrome, shoulder pain, shin splints, sciatica, plantar fascilitis, knee problems and tennis elbow. When you ignore these problems, nerve entrapment, muscle adhesions, inflammation, scar tissue or impingement syndrome may develop.

Problems occurring from continued overuse result in detrimental changes to tissue:
* Tissues do not get enough oxygen (hypoxia).
* Accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
* Acute conditions such as tears, pulls and collisions.

These types of changes to the tissues cause the body to try and heal itself by producing tough, dense scar tissue in the area that has been injured. This is not strong healthy tissue. It is only a way for your body to immobilize the area in order to protect the injured area. Scar tissue is formed so that it binds up surrounding tissues joints or ligaments to prevent the joint being freely moveable.

Muscles become short, weak and tight. Without proper treatment, this can lead to tension in the tendons causing tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. A loss of strength can occur; a reduced range of motion; or numbness, tingling, weakness and pain.

When a muscle is torn it will bleed and, as part of the body’s repair process, it will lay down a thick fibrous matt of scar tissue to “glue” the torn fibres together. This bond is very strong, but unfortunately, instead of just reattaching the two ends, it glues everything in that area together. This usually results in healthy tissue getting stuck to the damaged area and rendering it very inefficient. The knock-on effects are where the future problems occur.

Athletes can injure and effect soft tissues through overuse by training hard to win. Long term this can create more chronic problems which will only hinder a performance, therefore making massage necessary.

Sports Massage is a soft tissue treatment that can assist with the conditions listed above – both with the injury and the recovery process – relieving pain, aiding performance and improving circulation.

I believe that sports massage is very specific to each individual athlete and therefore the aims and outcomes vary for every treatment/session. The main outcome for sports massage should be to promote a speedy recovery and aid a better performance, whether it be through the physical or the mental benefits and effects of a treatment.

Massage, applied skillfully, is the most effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system. A constant build up of tension in the muscles from regular activity may lead to stresses on joints, ligaments, tendons, as well as the muscles themselves.

These muscle imbalances may develop and often go undiagnosed until they are serious enough to cause the athlete discomfort or impede performance. The skilled massage therapist will be able to detect variations in the soft tissues and by using the correct techniques, help the sports person maintain a much healthier physical state.

There are many physical effects of massage that benefit individuals. The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood vessels and lymph vessels. By increasing the pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.

Deep massage causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which help them recover quicker.

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Massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched in the usual methods. Bundles of muscle fibres are stretched lengthwise as well as sideways. Massage can also stretch the sheath or fascia that surrounds the muscle, so releasing any tension or pressure build up. Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can effect muscle, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain. Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic. This is one reason why hard training may not result in improvements. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues. Massage increases blood flow to tissues, but so does exercise. What massage also does is open or dilate the blood vessels and by stretching them this enables nutrients to pass through more easily.

Sports massage is therefore an extremely useful tool to ultimately aid recovery and improve performance.

Contact Me

If you have any questions about sports massage and would like to talk about arranging a session please feel free to contact me.

Tel: 07812144703

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