We get asked all the time at the clinic about why and when and how often should I have a Sports Massage. Firstly compare your body to a piece of your equipment say your bike..you wouldn't leave that unserviced, broken or have done no safety checks before your big event day would you? When you train you damage muscle fibre as you get stronger. It does repair but sometimes it doesn't and scar tissue can build up leading to a below average performance, injury or possibly a D.N.F or Did Not Start for that matter. Sports massage techniques will clean up scar tissue, helping the fibres of the muscle glide more smoothly and restore muscle balance preventing injuries, cramp and speed up rehabilitation if you've had an injury.
What exactly is Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a variety of massage techniques that includes range of motion, trigger point therapy, specific deep tissue manipulation/friction strokes and facilitated stretching to maintain, rehabilitate, enhance and relax soft tissue.
Why does an athlete need Sports Massage?
Where and when can it be useful?
Pre-event massage- this is stimulating, rhythmic, fast paced and lasts 10-15mins: Reduces muscular tension & increase flexibility; can enhance the athletes psychological state allowing for better concentration and focus; warms the muscles and prepares them for intense use; increases circulation of blood and lymph.
Post-event massage - techniques used are similar to a full body massage so that the muscles and the body as a whole can return to a balanced state: May help prevent lactic acid soreness and also help prevent or minimise injury; reduces muscular tension and promotes relaxation allowing for quicker recovery time. Also a good time to assess for signs of injury, dehydration/heat exhaustion and hypothermia.
Training/remedial massage - assessment and treatment massage: Helps heal acute injuries and alleviate chronic problem areas; helps reduce muscle spasm and cramping; increases joint range of motion giving more fluidity with less effort; helps prevents injuries to muscles and tendons; reduces strain and discomfort of training.
What is the right amount of massage?
Ideally when you start massage it is best to go regularly (once/twice weekly) to get things under control. After about 4-5 weeks you can choose a 'maintenance' level of fortnightly appointments. If you are training for a major event like a marathon we would recommend weekly sessions once you hit your 12 week build up.
Hope to see you at the clinic! ..we can maintain your awesome machine with a regular 30 or 45 minute appointment :)
Lesley is a registered and qualified Remedial Massage, Lymphatic & Lymphoedema Therapist based in Queenstown. She trained at Canterbury College of Natural Medicine and is a qualified Vodder Therapist. She has a special interest in surgical recovery, chronic pain especially low back/hip pain and reduction of lymphoedema/lipoedema/oedemas.