What is a Sports Massage?
Sports massage is treatment given with the understanding of anatomy and physiology and the particular demands placed upon the body by the client and their specific sport.
Sports massage focuses on preventing and treating injury while also enhancing athletic performance. Therapists will commonly use a mixture of Swedish and deep tissue massage techniques. Your massage therapist will usually finish your sports massage with some gentle stretch therapy.
A sports massage’s principal mandate is returning you to your desired sports activity with the same or an even better level of function. Sports massages can include more aggressive techniques that approach muscles more deeply.
Sports massage will often utilise various modalities such as remedial massage, trigger point therapy, cross fibre techniques and deep tissue work. Primarily, the difference lies with function. That is, returning you to your chosen activity in optimal function.
What is a Pre-Event Sports Massage?
A pre-event massage is a short, specific treatment immediately before (30 minutes- 24 hours before) a sports event. The goal of massage is to increase your circulation, flexibility and mental clarity to improve your performance.
A pre-event sports massage does not replace your warm-up but complements it. It is essential for your massage therapist to know your sport or activity and what muscles are likely to be used the most. It is also useful to assess your athletic condition and needs well before the event. The pre-event massage is not the time and place to be performing a deep or remedial treatment.
Your massage therapist should consider factors such as temperature, anxiety, fatigue and hyperactivity before your massage treatment. If you are cold, then more warming things need to be done. If you are already warmed up, your therapist will focus on flexibility. Soothing strokes may be called for to ease pre-event anxiety. As you can see, the pre-event sports massage will vary depending upon you and your chosen sport.
The amount and depth of treatment is the most critical key to effective pre-event massage. Deep tissue work is usually contraindicated during a pre-event massage as it may cause too much of an increase in flexibility, and it may interfere with your muscle timing and strength.
A high-quality sports massage therapist will keep your sports goal in mind at all times!
What is a Post-Event Sports Massage?
Quick recovery is the primary purpose of post-event sports massage. Athletes push themselves harder during an event than while training. It’s your competitive spirit pushing you to the limit. For example, during a marathon, most athletes run a greater distance during the event than they’ve ever run during their training. A massage afterwards is vital to assist a quick, pain-free recovery.
Your sports massage therapist will aim to relax your muscle tone, improve your recovery circulation, and restore your flexibility. This relaxation allows for a quicker recovery and your prompt return to training without the usual stiffness and soreness.
Post-event massage can also be that first assessment for potential injuries and more serious medical conditions (heat exhaustion or hypothermia), which may be identified early and treated promptly.
The school of thought is about when you will achieve the best results in a post-event massage: immediately or the next day.
In an ideal world, such as professional sport, they have light daily or more substantial alternate day massage. You be the judge as to what works best for you!
What Conditions Can Massage Therapy Help?
Massage is effective in relieving or treating a wide range of conditions and ailments, such as, but not limited to:
Common Massage Styles
The professional healthcare team at PhysioWorks include several skilled Remedial Massage Therapists to attend to your optimal muscle care. You'll find that your Remedial Massage Therapist will provide you with excellence in sports and muscle injury care. Private health insurance covers remedial massage therapists.
Common Massage Styles
- Active Release Technique - ART
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Lymphatic Drainage
- Myofascial Release
- Pre-Event Massage
- Pregnancy Massage
- Relaxation Massage
- Remedial Massage
- Sports Massage
- Sports Recovery Massage
- Swedish Massage
- Therapeutic Massage
- Trigger Point Therapy
Soft Tissue Massage Therapy
Soft tissue massage therapy involves direct physical action upon the soft tissues of your body. Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, or other connective tissue such as fascia are the target structures.
Massage therapists possess a variety of massage styles, which they customise to each client. Soft tissue techniques include a whole range of massage depths, pressures, and durations.
Massage Styles Include:
A gentle and relaxing massage style that incorporates long, smooth strokes to relax and soften superficial muscles. An excellent massage option for those looking for a gentle treatment to promote that relaxed and stress-free feeling.
Deep Tissue Massage
A deeper massage is targeting the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. This massage style incorporates slow, deep strokes to break up stubborn knots and tight soft tissues. Deep tissue massage is excellent for those who suffer from chronic tightness, scar tissue formation, repetitive strain, or regular physical activity.
Sports massage specifically treats those involved in physical activity. Sports massage focuses on preventing and treating injury while also enhancing athletic performance. Therapists will commonly use a mixture of Swedish and deep tissue massage techniques. The massage therapist will frequently finish your sports massage with some gentle stretch therapy.
Remedial massage is a modality that incorporates numerous techniques to locate and treat musculoskeletal imbalances and chronic/acute pain. Specific techniques used include: Swedish and deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, muscle energy techniques and stretching. Remedial massage is useful for those suffering from a particular complaint or those who want to ensure their body is functioning at its optimum level.
A massage using a selection of Swedish, deep and therapeutic massage techniques reduces stress, decreases swelling, relieves aches and pains, and reduces anxiety and depression. Pregnancy massages occur with the woman on her side or back. Your massage therapist will customise the massage to a woman’s individual needs.
What are the Benefits of Massage?
Massage may provide you with many benefits. These include:
- Pain Relief
- Reduced Swelling
- Reduced Stiffness
- Improved Sleep
- Reduced Stress
How Does Massage Help You?
In addition to feeling great, massage has a positive impact on various systems of your body. These include:
Quick Muscular Pain Relief
Massage directly affects the muscular system by stretching tight muscles, relaxing and releasing overused muscles. As a result, you should experience reduced muscle spasms and muscle cramping and help muscle tissue regeneration.
Reduce Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness
Massage reduces muscular pain for everyone, from athletes to the elderly. By hastening the removal of exercise toxins in the muscles, your soreness will quickly diminish. If you're pulling up sore after exercising? Don't let it discourage you. A Sports Recovery Massage will help you eliminate this and get you participating pain-free again!
Reducing Swollen Joints
By working on a joint's muscles, massage can increase the joint range of motion and increase collective strength and stabilisation.
Circulatory and Lymphatic Systems
By improving your lymphatic drainage, massage reduces the swelling that results from strains, sprains and other health problems. Lymphatic massage encourages blood flow to the tissue being treated by stimulating the circulatory system. As the lymphatic system works close to the circulatory system, the massage will promote reduced pain and swelling by improving lymphatic flow.
Remedial massage can promote a decrease in cortisol, which is a byproduct released by pain and stress. Massage also encourages an increased level of serotonin and dopamine, which improves your mood, relaxation and assists in relieving pain. The follow on effect in reducing anxiety while enhancing sleep, concentration and energy levels.
Stiffness. Make it a Thing of the Past.
If you've been having trouble getting out of bed in the mornings, massage will loosen your body and get you out on the right side of the bed every morning! Bounce out of bed every day.
Relax! Enjoy Life
Everyone experiences stress and anxiety as life becomes a little too much. Maybe you should too! The rich and famous use massage to ensure they stay relaxed and refreshed.
Sleep Like a Baby Again!
Massage has outstanding relaxing abilities that result in blissfully contented sleep! If you're not sleeping well? Book your massage NOW!
A Stress-Free Lifestyle
Everyone experiences stress and muscular tension, whether it be through stress or over-extending yourself. However, you might be suffering just a little more than some of your friends. Massage sedates and relaxes your overworked muscles. Say goodbye to stress.
What is a Pre-Event Massage?
Pre-event massage occurs before a workout, competition or sporting performance. Pre-event massage aims to increase blood circulation flexibility and mentally prepare people for activity and enhance performance. Pre-event massage is short and specific massage treatment.
Before an event, 3-5 days before, a deep tissue massage can be incredibly beneficial. You can release knots, relax tired muscles, improve your range of motion and get a much-needed break from your training schedule.
If you're considering a pre-event massage or post-event recovery massage, your timing is essential for maximum benefit.
When is the Best Time for a Pre-Event Sports Massage?
Pre-event massages that require deep tissue techniques should occur no later than 48 to 72 hours before the planned exercise event.
Is it Bad to Get a Massage the Day Before a Game or Event?
Any massage undertaken within 48-hours prior should be light relaxation only.
If you have a sporting event coming up soon, please discuss your timeframes with your sports massage therapist to ensure that your muscles work optimally on the big day.
What Causes Post-Exercise Muscular Pain?
What Causes Muscular Pain?
You know the feeling… dreaded “stiff and sore muscles” a day or two after you’ve done a little more exercise than usual.
Shortly after exercise begins, a mix of lactic and carbonic acids builds up in muscle tissue. These acids are waste products of muscle contractions. Don’t worry. These acids are normal. To produce “energy”, muscles burn stored glycogen. Lactic and carbonic acids are by-products of this metabolic process.
The good news is that most of these acids convert back into glycogen and are restored in preparation for your next bout of exercise. Pain and muscle fatigue can exist until the acid levels in your muscles return to normal.
How Does Massage Help?
Massage helps to eliminate the irritation caused by these acidic wastes. Research shows that massage can increase muscle recovery much quicker than rest alone.
Why is Massage So Useful When You Exercise?
Regular exercise causes many body changes. One improvement is the increase in blood vessels to the muscles to meet the demand for more oxygen and nutrients. This circulation increase helps to eliminate the waste products and toxins that build up with exercise. Importantly, it can take several weeks to develop improved muscular circulation.
Until the blood supply increases, you will have trouble with oxygen and nutrients supply. This allows toxic wastes to back up and stagnate. You will experience soreness, pain and stiffness. Many exercise enthusiasts regard aches and pains as the inevitable price to be paid. This is usually not true.
What about Muscle & Joint Stiffness?
Massage eases muscle and joint stiffness. Using massage strokes to reduce muscle tension and passive movement to stretch the connective tissue found around joints massage will improve your performance. Massage also lengthens muscle and tendon units to help prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.
What about Soft Tissue Injuries and Massages?
Massage aids recovery from soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Tissue repair accelerates by increasing circulation in the injured area. Massage therapy can help speed, improve recovery, and reduce discomfort from soft tissue injuries.
Massage is Drug-Free Treatment
Massage is a drugless therapy. Headaches, insomnia, neck and back pain, digestive disorders including constipation and spastic colon, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome and muscular aches and pains are just some of the problems that can respond to massage therapy.
Post-Event Recovery Massage
A post-event massage occurs soon after intense training or competition as part of the recovery process. Post-event massage involves the application of a range of massage techniques to assist recovery from activity.
Post-event recovery massages are most effective within a few days of your sporting event. It is always a good idea to present yourself at the post-event massage tent if one is available for your light rubdown. Post-event massage can be performed from 30 minutes up to 48 hours after intense exercise.
How Long Does a Post-Event Massage Last?
Post-event massage occurs immediately after the event or competition. A post-event massage session duration can vary approximately from just a few minutes up to 20 minutes. Post-event massage decreases muscle soreness and cramping and facilitates a faster return to training after your athletic event.
Ideally, you have a more substantial follow-up recovery massage within a few days of your sporting event to recover quicker or evaluate any niggling injuries. Most professional sporting teams now utilise sports massage therapists' professional services to assist in athletic recovery and preparation.
You'll find that elite football team players usually have two different sports massage styles each week to prepare them for next week's game.
What is Normal Post-Exercise Soreness?
Normal post-exercise soreness should settle within a day or two. Pain or soreness lasting beyond 48 hours is likely to be injury-related. If this is your case, we recommend seeking professional assessment and management of any suspected injuries.
What Is The Difference Between Remedial & Relaxation Massage?
Have you ever wanted a massage but couldn’t decide whether you need a remedial massage or only a refreshing and stress-reducing relaxation session? Well, here’s an explanation to help you to determine what you want precisely!
What Is Relaxation Massage?
A relaxation massage helps to de-stress and loosen up your body and is excellent for those who have had a hard working week or feel like treating themselves to some TLC! The treatment consists of flowing strokes, kneading and gentle manipulations of the muscles performed at your chosen pressure. It is a pain-free way to relax both your muscles and your mind.
What Is Remedial Massage?
If you have particular muscle tension or chronic pain, a remedial massage may be for you. Your remedial massage therapist will assess where you need treatment and what may be causing your pain. They’ll perform some tests to identify which muscles give you trouble and tailor a treatment plan to suit. The treatment itself may involve deep tissue work for short periods, but the results are worth it!
If you’d like more advice regarding what’s best for you, please call us to discuss your condition. Or book your appointment and enjoy the benefits. Private health fund rebates are also available.
What Massage Style is Best for You?
Yes. Massage styles and techniques can be confusing, which is why your PhysioWorks Massage Therapist is a highly-trained professional who understands was is right for your body. If you have any questions about what massage techniques are the best for you, please call us to discuss your massage requirements. Or, let your massage therapist works wonders on your body during a consultation.
What are the Basic Massage Techniques?
Longitudinal gliding is a traditional effective massage technique administered in the direction of the blood flow. It aids the fluid dispersion from the injury site and thus helps reduce inflammation and swelling. It is also instrumental in relaxing tight muscles.
Kneading can be performed differently and described by the hand method used to accomplish the massage, e.g. thumb kneading and palm kneading. The massage pressure applied must vary according to the purpose of the massage. The rhythm and rate of the movement are equally important as the load is applied intermittently.
Myofascial release is a manual technique for stretching the fascia to balance the body. Your fascia, located between the skin and the underlying muscle and bone structure, is a seamless web of connective tissue covering and connecting the muscles, organs, and skeletal systems in our body. Injuries, stress, trauma, and poor posture can cause restriction to the fascia, and the goal of myofascial release is to release fascia restriction and restore its tissue.
Trigger point therapy is a bodywork technique that involves applying pressure to tender muscle tissue to relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. Trigger points are active centres of muscular hyperactivity, which often cross over with acupuncture points. You will also find that common trigger points are what the average person refers to as muscular "knots". Trigger point massage helps relieve these points.
Transverse friction is transverse connective tissue therapy applied directly by the fingers. Transverse frictions use an oscillating pressure applied across the direction of the tissue fibres. This technique is used mainly on tendon or ligament injuries to help break down thickened, pain-producing scar tissue. Unreduced lesions are likely to cause further irritation and degenerate more quickly than they should.
Rhythmic compression into muscles is used to create deep hyperaemia and softening effects in the tissues. This technique may occur as a warm-up for more in-depth, more specific massage work. Sports massage utilises compression massage.
Cross-fibre friction techniques create a stretching and broadening effect. It can also help reduce adhesions and help build reliable, flexible repair during the healing process.
PNF Stretches (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) combine passive stretching and isometrics with your muscle alternatingly stretched passively and contracted. The method targets nerve receptors in muscles to extend the muscle length. More info: PNF stretches.
For specific information regarding the best massage technique for you, please consult your trusted massage therapist.
Common Massage Styles
Article by John Miller
How Long Does It Take For A Muscle Injury To Heal?
The recovery time for a muscle injury depends on the severity of the damage. For a mild strain, you may be able to return to normal activities within a few days or a week. For more severe strains, recovery can take several weeks and even months. In nasty cases, surgical repair and post-operative physiotherapy may be necessary.
With professional assessment and the treatment guidance of your physiotherapist, most muscle injuries recover entirely.
To avoid re-injury, please ensure that you have adequately rehabilitated your body for a return to sport or work. Follow your physiotherapist’s specific instructions. Don’t engage in high-risk physical activity until your muscles have healed and strengthened appropriately.
Common Treatments for Muscle Strain
The following options are available to your physiotherapist to assist the rehabilitation of your muscle strain. Please seek their professional advice prior to self-managing your injury to avoid aggravating your muscle strain. These are general guidelines only and should not be treated as individual treatment advice.
Acute Muscle Strain Treatment
Subacute Muscle Strain Treatment
- Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
- Acupuncture and Dry Needling
- Soft Tissue Massage
- Kinesiology Tape
- Supportive Taping & Strapping
- Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
- Heat Packs
Later Stage Muscle Strain Treatment Options
- Foam Roller
- Stretching Exercises
- Strength Exercises
- Closed Kinetic Chain Exercises
- Eccentric Exercises
- Proprioception & Balance Exercises
- Agility & Sport-Specific Exercises
Other Factors to Consider
- Biomechanical Analysis
- Joint Mobilisation Techniques
- Gait Analysis
- Running Analysis
- Video Analysis