The benefits of regular sports massages and when to schedule them in your diary
Do you participate in regular sport? Are you training for a race or an event? If so regular massages will benefit you and your training helping to keep you injury free and help prepare you for the big day.
There are numerous of benefits of receiving massages which include the following;
- improved circulation to the hard working muscles before and after activity. This improved blood flow with oxygen rich blood cells will allow the muscles to contract more effectively with more power, deliver more nutrients (fuel) and wash away any non wanted by products from muscle exertion thus aiding recovery and reducing pain.
- improved range of motion as increasing blood flow allows the tissues (muscle and fascia surrounding the muscle) to increase in length. This includes releasing the tightness of trigger points of muscles and tightness of the fascia.
- break up scar tissue and adhesions that can restrict the movement of your muscles, reduce existing muscle soreness, improve range of motion.
- reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) lactate, inflammatory products from the natural break down of overloaded muscle fibres.
- improved relaxation and release of feel good hormones.
Types of Sports Massages
- Injury - Soft tissue massage, myofascial release, trigger point release can be important as part of your treatment for an injury. It can restore normal length, release tension on muscles/fascia and aid recovery and repair. With most injuries we tend to treat and mobilise the whole kinetic chain rather than just one individual muscle as muscles are all connected by fascia throughout the body.
- Maintenance - I'd highly recommend maintenance sports massages to be included as part of your training. These are normally booked as a course of regular massages to keep the muscles happy, loose and free from injury. They can be deeper massages working on breaking down scar tissue/adhesions/knots and releasing trigger points and any tightness within the muscle or fascia surrounding the muscle. As tension is released muscles can feel more free and flexible. Deeper sports massages can sometimes bring about short lived soreness but then after leave you feeling great with the sensation of new legs, back or arms!!!
- Pre race/competition- This can be performed a day before or on the day prior to the event. It is normally not as deep as a typical maintenance massage. It works on aiding circulation into the muscles, improved length and flexibility and helping with preparing for the event.
- Post race/competition- This is highly beneficial following a hard session or an event. It can be performed immediately or the day or two after. It is normally lighter, more gentle and works on flushing out waste toxins by again aiding circulation, reducing D.O.M.S and aiding recovery.
When to schedule massages
When to schedule regular massages is different from one person to the next and how regular depends on how much you are training, intensity, history of previous injury, cost and your availability. For some, elite athletes may receive massages on a daily basis particularly leading up to competition and for others weekly, fortnightly or monthly can work well with frequency increasing closer to the events/competitions. If you are training for an event, massages can be strategically booked as 'maintenance massages' regularly leading up to the event as they should form part of your training plan. I would normally recommend that when booking in maintainence massages on a regular basis having a deeper sports massage 48 hours following a longer, harder session and at least 3-5 days prior to a longer, harder session or sporting event.
Pre and post race massages are great and can be booked the day before and immediately following a race/event. This will leave you feeling great!!
In my opinion I would always advise everyone participating in sport or any activity to have regular massages to keep their muscles flexible and injury free. They make a great difference to your training, performance and recovery.
You can self mobilise your own tissues with the use of foam rollers, massage sticks and spikey balls which work very well. However, you still may find sports massages more helpful as the brain is very good at not applying quite as much pressure naturally easing off when there is pain.
If you would like to book a sports massage here at Physio Form, all our Physiotherapists have excellent soft tissue skills and will ensure a medical screening is completed prior to treatment. You can now book online for 30 minute or 60 minute sports massage. http://www.physio-form.co.uk/book-online Good luck training!!