Why sports massage is as valuable as a PT session

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Extreme fitness is all the rage. Can a sports massage help with your training goals?

Tough Mudder, CrossFit, triathlons, spinning and back to back classes. Is there no end to our love of extreme fitness? Mega exercise has taken the country by storm (there’s been a 44% increase in triathloners alone according to britishtriathlon.com) and if you’re a lover of power pump over pilates too, you’ll know it’s not just extreme sweating that’s par for the course. There’s just that little bit more risk of sustaining an injury, too. That’s where sports massage comes in. A massage therapist who knows what they’re doing isn’t just a relief for your body, but could be a real boost to your fitness goals. Sports therapist Rob explains it all.

What is sports massage for?

‘When you exercise, your muscles are strengthening,’ says Robert. ‘But with this, your muscular fibres will shorten and in the case of endurance activities, may fatigue and overload.’ Sports massage releases the muscular tension and inflammation you’ve built up through exercise. In short, it gives your muscles a break. Which enables them to perform better next time you exercise.

So what exactly does a sports massage involve?

The aim of sports massage is to loosen the tense muscular fibres you’ve built up through the continuous strain of working out. ‘Your therapist will use long, deep stroke techniques to break these tense muscular fibres apart,’ says Robert. ‘Due to the tension and inflammation of the muscle, some areas of the body can be quite sore.’

When should you have a sports massage?

If you’re training for an event or competition, it’s perfect. But it has other uses too. ‘It’s also great when someone is experiencing muscular pain from a bad posture, or just if your body is feeling restricted or heavy.’

Can sports massage fix an injury?

What sports massage is very useful for is ongoing maintenance, says Rob. ‘But if you are confident in your therapist, it can be used for emergency treatment.’ For a severe injury, such as a disc bulge, however, you should consult a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath.

What’s the difference between regular massage, sports massage, and physiotherapy?

Sports massage differs from regular massage in that it’s a deeper form of massage involving the release of specific muscular tension and knots. Physiotherapy is the treatment and rehabilitation of a specific musculoskeletal condition or injury, while sports massage is the treatment of acute symptoms brought on from exercise or an imbalance caused by posture.

 

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