Sports Massage has many benefits such as the reduction of pain and tension, great preparation for a sporting event or as a relaxing treatment after an event to remove all the unwanted products. But one of the most important benefits of a sports massage treatment is the increase in flexibility and the strength in the clients’ muscles.
When I say strength I want to make it clear that a client can’t just walk in, have a sports massage and come out with bulging muscles. What I mean is through strengthening techniques and massage, over a period of treatments together we can strengthen an area so that it causes less pain to another area or to better ones posture.
One great example of this is when many clients are having pain in their knees or legs and during an assessment it’s found that their knees are facing slightly inwards towards the center of the body. The main cause of this is that the gluteal (buttock) muscles are often neglected and can become very weak causing the knees to be pulled inwards by the opposing muscles. Through simple strengthening techniques during the treatment and at home the client can strengthen their gluteal muscles pulling their knees into a more neutral position causing less strain and more importantly less pain.
Another great benefit of sports massage is how much flexibility can be gained from frequent treatments which again can release a lot of tension and reduce the individuals’ pain. Techniques such as Soft Tissue Release (STR), Myofascial Release and Muscle Energy Technique (MET) will massively increase flexibility by lengthening the muscles. This is because muscles can actually be stretched and lengthened as they have some plasticity and elasticity.
Many clients suffer with pain in their hamstrings and a good way to release the tension is through Soft Tissue Release. With the client lying, facing the couch, the knee will be bent and the therapist will apply pressure with their fingers, fist or elbow at about a 45° angle up the leg, along one of the hamstring muscles and then the client will lower their leg towards the couch so it is straight whilst the therapist continues applying deep pressure to the area. Doing these sorts of techniques several times during each treatment combined with other techniques will help increase flexibility. Increasing flexibility will also help to reduce strain put on joints, for example stretching the hamstrings can reduce pain in the knee and in the hip joints reducing pain in the whole leg and in the lower back.
Benefits like this will not only reduce pain but can also greatly improve lifestyle as some activities you weren’t able to do before, you may well be able to do now once your joints aren’t hurting. Clients have found that they can continue sports they couldn’t participate in anymore, take up new sports and even can help people to get back to work after a chronic issue. So I would advise those suffering with stiff joints, loss of movement in areas or those who are trying to get back to fitness again to try out a sports massage and enjoy the benefits of this kind of treatment.