Sports Massage, how it differs to other massage therapy

We often get athletes and gym enthusiasts asking us  to describe sports massage and how it varies from other massage techniques including deep tissue. Here we explain what makes sports massage unique…

Sports Massage is a treatment that has been developed for those involved in sporting activity to aid recovery from injury, to prevent injuries from occurring initially and to increase performance. The use of Sports Massage treatments has developed massively within amateur sport in the past decade after being used in professional sport for many decades helping full time athletes through their tough training regimes.

At our YOU Massage, we have 4 trained Sports Massage Southampton Therapists, as well as 5 Deep Tissue Massage Southampton Therapists. Click here to read more about our Southampton Massage Therapists.

Read on for more on Sports Massage Techniques and how you can get the most out of your fitness with Sports Massage…

Some techniques involved in a Sports Massage a similar to those of other massages such as the use of effleurage, a long deep stroke over an area used to warm the muscles and to remove unwanted toxins. The use of petrissage and friction techniques are also similar in different types of massage, where the muscles are mobilised and deeper pressure is applied to break down tension. Those receiving a sports massage treatment will also benefit from myofascial release and neuromuscular techniques to identify deep pain stored in the muscles and radiating pain from that area can be reduced. Trigger points, or knots, may also be found which can disperse after a thorough sports massage treatment.

Although Sports Massage uses similar techniques it differs from other types of massage as it uses these techniques to alleviate knots and tension very deep inside the muscles thus creating less pressure on the joints and reducing pain in the particular area.


In a Sports Massage the therapist will not just treat the muscles but all the other soft tissues as well such as the ligaments and tendons at joints and the fascia connecting the muscles as a lot of tension is often stored in these areas.


Stretching techniques are also involved with a Sports Massage that are not involved in other massage treatments such as Muscle Energy techniques and Soft Tissue Release. These techniques are applied to lengthen short, tense muscles used in a variety of ways depending on the issue, to decrease pain, ease joint pressure and reduce injuries.


Why the use of these techniques in a Sports Massage is aimed at sportspeople primarily is because to participate in competition well, the muscles need to be relaxed, soft, full of blood and nutrients and fully stretched to produce maximum performance. If an athlete were to compete with cold, short muscles that haven’t been stretched and softened, they would be more likely to gain an injury, preventing them from competing for some time.


A Sports Massage is also great for those suffering with chronic illnesses and conditions to relieve some of the pain as very deep pressure would be applied. Deep massage and stretching techniques would be beneficial for those with chronic back pain, fibromyalgia and migraine sufferers.


A sports massage is a unique treatment like no other massage treatment, as there is such a combination of pressures, with deep pressure pinpointing pain to relaxing stretches, the muscles will inevitably relax and overall pain and tension will decrease.



How to get the most out of your fitness regime with Sports Massage


In the past few decades the use of Sports Massage with professional athletes has increased massively as coaches and athletes themselves have realised the benefits of regular massage treatment can have on their training schedules.

For those lucky enough to have regular massage treatments they will realise how huge a part it has to play not just in their training but with their overall health and well being.

People who exercise regularly will know that muscle tension and build up occurs very often and can hinder their performance massively if not addressed. Every single sport will cause muscle build up and eventually injury in a particular area and if not treated can cause the individual to have to give up their sport as the pain has taken over.

A sports massage is great after a really big weight session in the gym as all the muscles will be short and tense and a deep massage treatment will open up that tight chest, push those shoulders back so your back isn’t aching and stretching those quadriceps so the re isn’t pain in your lower back and hips! Sport Massage also helps the production of the mitochondria which are the power house cells for our muscles! Meaning it makes us stronger!

Sports such as football, rugby and running sports can cause tension in the legs such as in the calves as these muscles are constantly being worked. Lactic acid will build up and through natural micro tears scar tissue will also occur which causes a slight loss in movement and flexibility in the calves and ankle. Receiving a treatment at this point will quickly remove the lactic acid and break down scar tissue, giving the muscles a fresh supply of nutrients and blood. Not only this, but through a Sports Massage the calves will be stretched and loosened increasing the flexibility to what it was and will keep the muscles long and warm so injury will not occur.

If the individual was not to receive a treatment at this stage and was to carrying on playing their sport the tension and scar tissue build up would continue until eventually there would be a huge loss in motion and flexibility to the area meaning they wouldn’t be able to carry out movements naturally which is where an injury would occur. If an injury were to occur the area would swell, there would be some bleeding and complete loss of movement that could have been prevented in the first instance if they had a massage treatment.


It is very beneficial to receive a pre event sports massage to warm and soften the muscles, filling them with lots of fresh blood so the oxygen is flowing around them before an event such as a big match or before a marathon.

It’s also great to have a post sports massage after an event so all the muscle build up can be removed and the muscles can be thoroughly stretched again increasing blood and oxygen flow, reducing tension and importantly relaxing and reducing the clients’ pain.


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