What do Joe Montana, Martina Navratilova and Michael Jordan all have in common? All three are athletes who have reached the top of their sport. What helped them to get through their gruelling practice session was sports massage.* While you may not be a Michael or a Martina, maybe you’ve put your runners away because it’s snowing outside, maybe you have your skis or snowboard waiting on ‘Standby’ at the door. After a day on the slopes or if you’re still running outside, you likely need to give some extra love and care to your muscles. That’s where sports massage comes in.
So often I hear a client say they started to feel a small ache or bit of a ‘pull’ but ignored it thinking it would go away. The issue comes when it didn’t go away. Post-event sports massage, given within 4 hours of exercise, could have alleviated that situation promptly. Rehabilitative massage can also help, but again you need it within a few days at the latest. Ignoring the situation causes increased pain or other overuse injuries.
For athletes or the ‘weekend warrior’, giving your hips and leg and back muscles a post-event and rehabilitative massage is just what you need to keep you on the move. Sports massage aims at recovery, normalizing your stressed muscles and treating any minor muscle tissue complaints you may have. Sports massage is different though; for one thing, it isn’t the relaxing style that you get at a spa. This might cause you to groan and gasp just a little. while this can still be ‘full body’, we concentrate on the area that’s been a problem, the areas that are used in your sport of choice. If you have tight, stiff, sore muscles, or edema (swelling) is evident around certain joints typically caused by overuse or improper body mechanics. The specific techniques involve compression and broadening of the muscles, deep sliding strokes, cross-fibre and transverse/circular friction; ‘picking up’ the muscles brings blood and oxygen to an under-stretched muscle. Sports massage also includes facilitated stretching, helping you get rid of any lactic acid built up during your activity.
Stages of Rehab include several stages such as the primary focus of reducing muscle spasm, then restoring flexibility, and rebuilding muscle strength and endurance.
A little sports massage and you’ll be running out for more exercise.
* quoted from “Sports Massage for Every Athlete” by Michael J. Taylor, LMT