We generally think that we need to have something wrong with us to go for a massage or it’s a treat. John and Sarah are your typical individuals; they both work hard in their jobs and use the gym to help with stress release and train. Johns training for the Dublin City Marathon and Sarah attends classes on a weekly basis.
Two very different people in terms of their objectives but massage therapy once applied in their area the principles are the same.
Massage when carried out by a skilled and professional therapist, is a combination of several different techniques. The overall point of massage is to help muscles relax and relieve tension in the body with a combination of palpation, massage strokes and gentle oils or balms which can also help the healing process. So, let’s look at it from two different perspectives.
Sports massage is now recognised by many in the training industry as an accepted component to an overall regimen of training and competition. This means the athlete can enhance pre-competition and reduce the required recovery period, which means a better and more intensive training session after competition. Flexibility, a necessary component of any athletic completion, is also a part.
Many do not realise it, but the sports massage has certain characteristics that make it ideal for athletes. The targeting of the muscle and tendons within the body is key for athletic training.
There are several key elements to sports massage;
Motion and Flexibility: Professional and superior athletes often over train and this leads to muscle rigidity. Sports massage can help relax overly tense muscles and provide additional flexibility. Used before a competition, it will relax the muscles for flexibility, improving performance.
Shortens Recovery Time: Exercise and competition is stressful on the body. This will lead to injury if proper precautions are not taken. Sports massages are ideal to help the body deal with this stress and injury prevention. A proper massage increases blood flow and lymph fluid, both assisting in the body’s natural healing process, speeding waste removal and general health improvement. Swelling and inflammation associated with physical activity is also reduced. Scar tissue, normal from a severe injury, can be lessened with massage.
Supply of Oxygen and Nutrients: Blood flow into muscles is vital to creating new tissue and increased strength and stamina. Massage increases blood flow for additional oxygen and nutrients.
Helps Eliminate By-Products of Exercise: Lactic and uric acids are natural by-products of exercise. Each can be lessened with blood and lymph flow in the body and increase the waste output by a sports massage.
Psychological Benefits: There is much to be said about psychology and sports. Many do not realise the value of a massage with sports and how a quality massage has more than just physical benefits. The body is only as strong as the mind, so having a strong mind that is relaxed and focused is a definite edge in highly competitive sports. A stressed athlete is not nearly as capable as one with a clear mind.
Reduces Pain: A body in pain is a sign of overworked muscles and is not healthy. Massage increases blood and lymph fluid flow, thereby speeding the injury rehabilitation process. A massage also helps with pain from spasms and cramps, common with elite athletic training. Using a combination of different techniques a skilled therapist will be able to target a specific muscle group or area of tension similarities the objectives are different.
Deep Tissue Massage (Often confused with Sports Massage)
Other benefits include;
Improved circulation and general nutrition of muscles. This appears to be the most valuable fitness-related benefit. Massage is accompanied or followed by an increase interchange of substances between the blood and the tissue cells, which increases tissue metabolism. Massage maximises the supply of nutrients and oxygen though increased blood flow, which helps the body rebuild itself.
Improved range of motion and muscle flexibility. This will result in increased power and performance, which helps you work out efficiently and with proper intensity to facilitate the body’s muscle-building response.
Helps shorten recovery time between workouts. Waste products such as lactic and carbolic acid build up in muscles after exercise. Increased circulation to these muscles helps to eliminate toxic debris and shorten recovery time.
Helps prevent and even heal injuries. By stretching connective tissue, massage improves circulation to help prevent or break down adhesion's. Massage also influences the excretion of certain fluids (nitrogen, phosphorous, sulphur) necessary for tissue repair. Building a functional relationship with your therapist is also an important factor. You need to feel comfortable with your therapist in order to achieve goals. A good therapist will get to know you and how you work as an athlete or a gym goer.
I work from my clinic by appointment Mondays & Fridays in Rathfarnham and mobile Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.