I have a couple of injuries/on-going issues with my body from all the running I do (the joys of a being a runner!) such as my IT band and my sartorial muscle. So on top of be regular stretching routine, I try to visit my lovely massage therapist in Toronto as often as possible to help get the kinks out. (I usually go twice a month if I have a race coming up). Here, I’ll try and explain the benefits of getting a good sports massage and why you should consider one (as if we need more reasons to get a massage haha).
Sports massage can help maintain the body in generally better condition such as preventing injuries and loss of mobility, cure and restore mobility to injured muscle tissue, and boost performance. A sports massage is a good choice if you have a specific problem/chronic pain but it’s best that you make sure it is not your form that is causing the problem to begin with as what’s the point of getting treated if you’re going to continue to hurt yourself? A sports massage should not be confused with a full body massage as it usually have a point of focus such as my It band.
Firstly, there are four types of sports massages:
Pre-event sports massage
- A short, stimulating massage 15 – 45 minutes before the event.
- It is directed toward the parts of the body that will be involved in the exertion.
Post-event sports massage
- Given within an hour or two of the event, to normalize the body’s tissues.
Restorative sports massage
- Given during training to allow the athlete to train harder and with less injury.
- This is the one I usually get!
Rehabilitative sports massage
- This one is aimed at alleviating pain due to injury and returning the body to health.
- I get this one too ):
Increased tissue permeability
- Deep massage can cause the pores in your tissue membranes to open which enables fluids and nutrients to pass through.
- This helps remove products such as lactic acid and will encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients to aid you to recover quicker.
- A sports massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched in the usual methods.
- Bundles of muscle fibres are stretched lengthwise as well as sideways.
- Massage can also help with releasing any tension or pressure build up in places you cannot reach.
- I’m also a wee bit lazy and the massage really helps when I haven’t stretched properly haha.
- Heavily exercised muscles may also lose their capacity to relax.
- This causes chronically tight muscles, and loss of flexibility which is often linked to muscle soreness, and predisposes athletes to injuries such as muscle pulls and tears.
Break down scar tissue
- Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can effect muscle, tendons and ligaments.
- This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
- I personally have scar tissue on my left hip area that hurts like a crazy when I run 10k+ and I have found after 4ish treatments, the pain has significantly decreased.
Improve tissue elasticity
- Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic and a sports massage can help with reversing this by stretching the tissues.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness Prevention
- Sports massage therapy can prevent or relieve delayed onset muscle soreness.
- Delayed soreness typically begins to develop 12 to 24 hours after the exercise has been performed.
- DOMS may produce the greatest pain between 24 and 72 hours after the exercise has been performed.
- Sports massage therapy prevents delayed onset muscle soreness through the encouraging of blood and lymph flow throughout the body, preventing muscle fatigue.
*If you’re in the GTA area, I have a great rec for the guy I go to so let me know if you’re interested! 🙂