Training for any type of sport inevitably puts strain on the body. Sports massage is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of injury and aiding recovery for anyone engaged in regular physical activity. Whether you’re a runner preparing for a triathlon or you’re concerned that you overdid it during your workout at the gym last week, getting a sports massage with a therapist from Relax Bristol can put you on the path towards optimum physical performance. But it isn’t just professional athletes who can benefit from this type of treatment. Sports massage can help to improve flexibility, posture and reduce aches and pains. It can also be beneficial if you’re experiencing physical health problems such as back pain, or muscular pain related to work or other types of physical activity. Sports massage tends to be quite vigorous, so it might be a little different to other types of massage you’ve experienced in the past. But regardless of your reasons for getting one, it’s always an invigorating experience.
What are the potential benefits of sports massage ?
There are a number of physical benefits from having a regular sports massage. These include: Increased flexibility and reduced muscle tension, improved posture, reduced pain - especially from DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) which you may experience after training, improved performance - having muscles that are mobile and relaxed means that you can perform at your best, whether it’s at the gym, on the yoga mat or on the football field.
What massage techniques are used during a sports massage?
In contrast to relaxation massage, where the aim is simply to relax the entire body, sports massage tends to be more focused and intense. Your muscles can get very tense and stiff after training hard. Therefore, the aim of sports massage is to correct problems that have developed due to repetitive physical activity. It can help to ease symptoms as well as prevent other problems from developing. Sports massage tends to use vigorous strokes, aimed at delivering better blood flow to the muscles, releasing tension and making them more mobile. All Relax Bristol therapists are fully trained and will tailor the treatment towards your needs, using techniques including stroking (effleurage), using varying amounts of speed and pressure; kneading and compressing of the soft tissue (petrissage) to relax the muscles; friction techniques, which help to stretch and relax muscle fibres; and cupping and/or hacking techniques which stimulate the skin.
Who would benefit from a sports massage?
Sports massage can help prevent injury and can assist in recovery if you’re engaged regularly in sport and can be incorporated into any stage of training. But though it’s designed specifically to help with sporting problems, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to reap the benefits. Many of us sustain low-level problems in our muscles and joints due to poor posture, being slumped in front of a desk all day, or doing a physically demanding job that requires a lot of repetitive movement. In this instance, sports massage could still be beneficial: it can be a way to hone in on specific physical problems you’re having and find ways to rectify them.
What can I expect during a sports massage?
If you’ve had other types of massage before but this is your first sports massage, be prepared for a slightly more intense experience. We recommend that you don’t eat anything too heavy or consume alcohol for the few hours prior to your massage. It’s also important to stay hydrated both before and after the massage. We normally recommend that you wear loose, comfortable shorts or underwear - whatever feels most comfortable to you. Unlike traditional full body massages, sports massage is more likely to focus on specific parts of the body. You might be moved into different positions by your therapist, and it’s important that you stay in communication with your therapist, letting them know if it becomes too painful or uncomfortable. Afterwards, you may feel a little sore, so make sure you give yourself some time to relax. But you should also feel relaxed and rejuvenated in the days immediately afterwards.
When is sports massage not appropriate?
Sports massage might not be suitable for you if you’re currently experiencing any of the following: high fever, recent illness or a serious medical condition, open wounds, burns, lesions etc, skin infections, iif you’re pregnant (please see pregnancy massage page).
Our therapists can provide this treatment for you in Bristol, Bath, Newport and Cardiff