Regardless of age, it’s possible to experience muscle tension and soreness due to vigorous physical activity or repetitive motion, such as in the workplace. Stretching before or after movement can help alleviate some of this discomfort, but your body’s ability to recover on its own may be limited, especially if you work out infrequently.
Rather than managing muscle discomfort with pain killers and other home remedies, consider trying a sports massage. By targeting areas where your muscles have recently been sore, sports massage therapy can help reduce stiffness and tension.
It’s common to ask, “what does a sports massage do?” if you’ve never had one before. Sports massage is different from relaxation or deep tissue massage. While many massage therapists are trained in multiple forms of massage therapy, sports massage uses unique techniques to restore movement and function to your body due to injuries or strain caused by physically demanding activities.
Basics of Sports Massage Therapy
Most forms of massage focus on the back, neck, and shoulders. For many office workers who spend most of the day sitting in one position, these areas become extremely stiff or tense. A basic relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, or even dry needling are sufficient for relieving discomfort in these areas.
Amateur and professional athletes, however, may need a massage in more targeted areas of the body. Calves, thighs, arms, and even feet can ache after sports games, practices, and workouts, making it harder for you to keep up with your physical fitness routine.
Even people who don’t exercise regularly may benefit from sports massage therapy on occasion. If you’ve recently taken up a sport or started a new physically demanding job, you may experience strain or tension in your muscles.
Sports massage requires detailed knowledge of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissue groups in various parts of the body. A sports massage therapist will use techniques targeted to specific muscle groups to address a problem area.
What Does a Sports Massage Do for Athletes?
Sports massage is commonly used to relieve tension in areas that are consistently sore or tight. This is usually in parts of the body the athlete uses most frequently but can occur in other areas, especially if the athlete is recovering from an injury.
Sports massage may also make it easier for you to stretch out before and after games and workouts. This is because your muscle fibres are sensitive to environmental factors, and massage can help loosen them for your long-term benefit. The resulting improvement to your warmup and cool-down routines can even enhance your overall endurance.
By improving your stretching ability and overall muscle condition, sports massage also contributes to your ability to resist injuries. Injury prevention is an underappreciated area for many athletes, but targeted massage therapy can play a critical role in protecting your muscles.
Waste products like carbonic and lactic acid build up in the muscles following vigorous exercise. When you increase circulation in that area of the body, these muscles can rid themselves of the toxic debris, improving your recovery time.
Sports massage can also help you relax before a major sports event. Scheduling a massage right before the game or race can help warm up your muscles and ease your nerves at the same time. However, keep in mind that it’s inadvisable to try out any new sports massage techniques right before an important athletic event since you don’t know how a different treatment approach will affect your body.
What Does a Sports Massage Do for Non-Athletes?
While you might think your body will quickly recover from a workout, even low-impact exercises like jogging can take a toll on your muscles or aggravate a previous injury.
Sometimes excessive muscle fatigue or pain after working out is a sign that your routine was too strenuous. Instead of trying to massage your muscles yourself before or after a workout, consult with a sports massage therapy professional who can target the source of the problem. A knowledgeable sports massage therapist can improve flexibility in your muscles, joints, and tendons.
Recovery From Existing Injuries
Sports massage can play a role in helping muscles that are already injured to recover faster. Massage boosts blood circulation, which helps transport nutrients throughout your body that muscles need for preparation. In addition, a sports massage can help relieve any discomfort the injury is causing you.
The correct course of action for managing injury recovery will largely depend on the type of injury, its severity, and location on the body. For example, sports massage can help with sprains, strains, stiffness, tendonitis, and other common injuries resulting from physical activity.
Sports massage should be paired with rest and elevation to allow the sore or injured muscle to heal fully. Your sports massage therapist will work with you to create a recovery plan and timeline for returning to sports or the workplace. They may also give you advice for avoiding reinjury, especially if the injury occurred in a muscle you use frequently.
Your Holistic Massage Team
If you’re still wondering, “What does a sports massage do?” the best course of action is to experience the benefits for yourself.
Wayne Massage has an experienced and skilled massage team that provides various massage types, including sports massage, deep tissue, reflexology, Chinese cupping therapy, dry needling, and more. We have three convenient branch locations in Sydney, so you can get to us when you need us most. Contact us today to book an appointment and begin your wellness journey.