What is Sports Massage Therapy All About - Motion Myotherapy Northcote
Updated: Feb 18
Sports massage is a form of deep tissue manual therapy that focuses on sports performance, sports related injuries and pain caused by physical activity and training. Sports massage targets body parts that are specific to the athlete and the sport they play and train for whether in competition or for general fitness and leisure. In simple terms a sports massage therapist fixes and corrects soft tissue anatomical problems, compared to a relaxing trip to get a spa massage.
What Are the Benefits of Sports Massage?
Sports massage was originally developed to serve athletes as a way to prevent and relieve injuries, but both athletes and non-athletes can gain physiological and psychological benefits from receiving regular sports massage therapy as part of their recovery program. Sports massage has many benefits which we will look at in more detail.
DOMS Prevention (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
After vigorous exercise sports massage therapy can both prevent and relieve delayed onset muscle soreness and the related heaviness. DOMS begins to develop 12 to 24 hours after the exercise has been performed with the greatest pain between 24 and 72 hours after exercise. Sports massage therapy encourages blood, lactic acid and lymph flow throughout the body, preventing muscle fatigue and stagnation.
Stress and Pain Reduction
If your someone who relies heavily on your body to perform whether it be sports, exercise or work, stress takes its toll on the body both physically and psychologically. Recovery is one of the key fundamentals in getting the most out of your body to perform at its best. Massage therapy is well know to help a person manage stress. Sports massage releases neurotransmitters called endorphins the feel good drug and they act as the body's natural pain reliever. Endorphins that are released due to receiving a sports massage help to decrease anxiety, provide pain relief, improve mood, immunity and enhance a person's state of well-being.
Massage in a Recovery Program
How often should you get a sports massage? For general maintenance to prevent injuries usually 3 weeks to a month is ideal, however 2 to 3 times a week might be needed leading up to a race or getting ready for an increased training workload. If your a runner or cyclist seeing a sports massage myotherapist should be part of your program implemented into your recovery days leading up to a competition or race day. Getting sports massages is important for any athletes to recover faster and prevent minor injuries.
Benefits of Sports Massage for Runners
If your a runner, sports massage can improve your flexibility and biomechanics. Biomechanics is very important when it comes to running and sports massage helps by releasing muscles so movement is more efficient with impact from your joints.
Sports Massage is great for quads, calves and hamstrings to reduce pain intensity and reduce inflammation from damaged muscles. Its all about reducing recovery time because when you exercise, you cause microtears on a cellular level in the muscles, which leads to an inflammatory response. Massage increases local blood flow to muscle tissue getting you back out on the track quickly.
Read more on 'How to Break Free of Running Related Injuries'
Is Sports Massage Painful?
Yes sports massage can typically be tender within 48 hours, depending on what your pain or symptoms are and the desired outcome. It has to be kept in mind that after a sports massage there is often post treatment soreness so the therapist should know what your training program is for the next following days. If your getting tight knots in your calves and hamstrings done, be prepared to encounter pain. However if your tapering off from training leading up to race day your massage therapist will provide more of a flush for your muscles. Getting a sports massage can be painful but might be easier than using a foam roller or spikey massage ball at home so its definitely worth it.
When to Get Sports Massage?
Sports massage should be part of your game plan. If your in preparation for a running event, cycling race, pulling up sore from basketball, netball, CrossFit or tennis get treatment to prevent injuries or to maintain and stay injury free. You don't want to have to take time off for recovery leading up to the big day.