Massage is recorded as one of the earliest forms of physical therapy and it is known that it was used by very different cultures over 3000 years ago.
It is only in the much more recent past since travel and communications have enabled different civilisations to meet that so many forms of massage have been developed.
In all types of massage the therapist has specific aims in mind, and in sport we focus on the individual needs of the athlete. With the ever growing number of people taking part in sport, combined with the increasing competitiveness and intensity of physical exercise, the demand for sports massage is also increasing and becoming more and more recognised as a skill which may aid recovery and enhance performance.
Athletes who are looking to improve performance and increase their competitive edge do so by adopting a training schedule to enhance their skill, strength, stamina, suppleness and speed. The degree to which they develop and utilise these qualities will depend on other factors such as the level of competition, the sport played, and possibly their position in a team. However, no matter which sport, the aim is nearly always to systematically increase the level of training and thereby subject the body to gradual and controlled overuse.
It is this overuse which may often create problems and imbalances in the soft tissues. If these are ignored and allowed to become chronic, they will not only hinder the athlete’s rate of improvement, but also in many cases their performance may well suffer and ultimately the athlete may be susceptible to developing more serious conditions. Certainly if they are unable to perform at their best, they may be more at risk from other more traumatic forms of injury. For example, a player involved in a contact sport who is “carrying” an injury may not have their usual level of agility. The result might be that they might suffer an extrinsic injury because of not being fully prepared for the contact suffered from an unexpected tackle.
Massage, applied skilfully, is the most effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system. Received regularly this may help athletes prevent injuries, which might otherwise be caused by overuse. A constant build-up of tension in the muscles from regular activity may lead to stresses on joints, ligaments, tendons, as well as the muscles themselves.
These muscle imbalances may develop and often go undiagnosed until they are serious enough to cause the athlete discomfort or impede performance. our skilled massage therapist will be able to detect variations in the soft tissues and by using the correct techniques, help the sports person maintain a much healthier physical state. It may therefore be reasonably claimed that one of the greatest benefits of sports massage is in helping to prevent injury.
Massage, applied skilfully, is the most effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system.
Contraindications for Sports Massage
There are times when sports massage could be detrimental rather than beneficial to you. The contra indications to massage are:
- A body temperature over 100°F, or feeling unwell.
- Acute Traumas – Open wounds, recent bruising, muscle tears, sprained ligaments, contusions, chilblains, burns.
- Tumours – Where there is swelling, which is inconsistent with recent bruising.
- Diseased blood vessels – Varicose veins, phlebitis, thrombosis.
- Infectious skin disease – Bacterial infection, Lymphangitis, Fungal infection, Viral infections, Herpes
- Where you react adversely to massage treatment
- Where your symptoms appear to make advice from a doctor advisable
- Diabetes – not strictly a contraindication but massage has the same effect as exercise on your blood sugar levels so you need to have appropriate medication available.
Benefits of Sports Massage?
Sports massage has many benefits. In addition to FEELING GOOD, it reduces the heart rate and blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, reduces muscle tension, improves flexibility, and relieves pain.
Each sport and athletic event uses muscle groups in a different way. Sports Massage can also include pre-event, post-event and maintenance techniques that promote greater athletic endurance and performance lessen chances of injury and reduce recovery time.
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