When you think of massage you might imagine pampering and relaxation with white fluffy robes, candle-lit spas, and relaxing music. But for athletes, massage takes on a whole new meaning.
Sports massage is commonly used by professional athletes and sports teams to help prevent muscle pain after exercise, reduce the pain of some sporting injuries and speed up recovery.
The best news is you don’t have to be a pro athlete to benefit. If you’re an avid tennis player, a dedicated runner or a gym enthusiast, sports massage may help you to be that little bit faster, stronger and more resilient too.
At Physionorth we provide massage for sports performance to anyone who’d like to optimise their athletic abilities. Whether you’re young or old, novice or elite, massage could benefit you.
What are the benefits of sports massage for athletes?
Sports massage therapy is specifically tailored massage, for athletes and active individuals. The aim of sports massage is to get you performing your best by optimising your physical function and reducing pain and injury. It can be used both before and after competition to prepare your body and help with recovery.
Have you ever trained really hard and then, as a reward for all your hard work, had stiff, sore muscles the next day? Yeah, we’ve all been there. That’s called delayed onset muscle soreness. A sports massage with your physio could help with that.
Plus, scheduling regular massages could help you recover faster by decreasing the tension in your muscles. This is because sports massage promotes circulation, helping your tissues heal faster by flushing them with fresh nutrient-rich blood.
But sports massage also has benefits beyond the physical.
For many, sports massage also helps with reducing stress, conditioning the mind and helping them push harder and train more efficiently.
It’s no secret that flexibility is crucial for optimising athletic performance. It allows greater range of motion and helps to prevent injury. That’s where massage during training and before an event comes in.
By improving your flexibility and warming up your muscles before you play, sports massage could provide many benefits to your performance. This is thanks to the relief of tension, reduction in stiffness and pain plus increased joint mobility, which allows you to move easier and more efficiently, and reduces your risk of injury.
Sports massage also promotes blood flow to damaged tissues which could help you recover for your next training session.
When the physical demands of training and competing push you to your limits, recovery is vital. Sports massage is a valuable tool that may support you to bounce back faster, minimising downtime and maximising your athletic potential.
Massage after an event helps you by relaxing your muscles, decreasing swelling, and promoting blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
Also, after exercise is where the benefits of sports massage for injury care really come into play as your physiotherapist may be able to find and treat injuries by feeling swelling or abnormalities in your tissue.
Best Massage for Athletes
When it comes to massage for athletes, different sports massage techniques serve different purposes. Whether you’re a runner, gymnast, footballer or ballet dancer will help your physiotherapist decide which technique could be of the most benefit to you. Here are a few options:
- Remedial Massage– this is the most common technique used for sports massage as it’s good for both treating injury and helping with recovery. If you’ve suffered a sporting injury, if you experience RSI or if you’ve got knotted or tense muscles, remedial massage might help you.
- Deep Tissue Massage– if you’re experiencing repetitive injuries, you may have scar tissue or problems with your tendons. This massage therapy targets the deeper layers of your tissues and is good for athletes who’ve suffered intense or recurring sports injuries.
- Swedish Massage– this technique is used to improve blood circulation and mobility and is great for muscle strain. This massage is great for anyone as it helps to keep your muscles in good condition.
Should I get a sports massage regularly or just when I’m sore?
Regular massage could be a game-changer for athletes who’d like a little performance boost or who’d like to reduce their risk of injury. By adding regular massage into your routine, you could help to optimise your body’s condition and maximise your performance.
Regular massage could help you find and treat tightness and imbalances in your muscles, and areas of vulnerability before they cause injury.
Furthermore, regular massage may help to increase your awareness of your body, helping you to detect and respond early to signs of strain or overuse.
How can Physionorth help?
If you continuously exercise, and you don’t stretch, rest and get massages, you could be setting yourself up for injury, negatively affecting your performance and hindering your long-term progress.
On the other hand, when you look after your body by keeping your muscles healthy and relaxed you’ll move more easily and efficiently.
Combine that with great training and your performance could get a serious boost.
Whether you’re a pro athlete, a fitness enthusiast or a weekend warrior the experienced physiotherapists at Physionorth would love to meet you.
Contact the team at Physionorth to book a sports massage. You just might thank yourself later.
*All information is general in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Physionorth can consult with you to confirm if this advice is right for you.
Australian Institute of Fitness. (2014). How Sports Massage Aids Athletes in Training and Competition. The Fitness Zone. https://fitness.edu.au/the-fitness-zone/how-sports-massage-aids-athletes-in-training-and-competition/
Australian Institute of Fitness. (2016). What are the benefits of sports massage? The Fitness Zone. https://fitness.edu.au/the-fitness-zone/what-are-the-benefits-of-sports-massage/
Healthdirect. (2021). Sports massage. https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/sports-massage
Massage & Myotherapy Australia. (n.d.). What is Sports Massage? www.massagemyotherapy.com.au/Consumers/What-is?/Additional-Modalities/Sports-Massage