Sports massages are a great way to take care of your body. They can help you recover from a pulled muscle, or form part of a rehabilitation program following injury. But how exactly does a sports massage work? Unlike a regular massage which is designed to relax you, a sports massage uses various techniques to manipulate and maneuver your muscles in order to stretch the fascia. This is a fibrous, hollow network of connective tissue composed of collagen and elastin which surrounds your bones, muscles, organs, and tendons.
There are many ways a sports massage therapist can help you. Physical trauma, straining during a workout and even poor posture can cause the fascia to lose elasticity and become hard. This results in decreased flexibility and mobility. By stretching and manipulating the fascia during a sports massage you regain motion and flexibility, as the fascia and surrounding tissue soften.
So, How Do Sports Massages Work?
At your first sports massage appointment you’re likely to feel a little apprehensive if you don’t know the mechanics involved and what is actually going on. There are several different methods used during a sports massage, each work in different ways.
Myofascial Release Techniques
Myofascial release techniques are used to stretch the network of fascia throughout your body. The technique can focus on a single, problematic area, or be applied to your whole body to promote overall flexibility and mobility.
Trigger Point Work
Your muscles naturally develop trigger points which can cause considerable pain without warning if stimulated. A sports massage is a good way to address these trigger points through the use of cycles of isolated pressure and release. By stimulating and releasing your trigger points in a controlled manner you can desensitise and remove them completely.
When your postural muscles have become tight and uncomfortable, a muscle energy technique can actively contract your muscles against a resistive source. This stretches and strengthens them, while allowing them to relax.
Soft Tissue Release
Specifically used on localised areas of fascia, tendons, and muscles, soft tissue release stretches out tight areas. There are different techniques applied depending on the tissue and its direction of the fibres within it, with active, passive and weight bearing techniques being applied to different areas.
While this isn’t a complete list of techniques used during a sports massage it should give you a good idea of how sports massages work. Essentially, your masseuse will employ a range of techniques that function in synergy with your body’s nervous system.
Book Your Sports Massage Appointment
If you really want to know how sports massage works, why not try it for yourself? Book an appointment at our Northwich clinic and one of our professional sports masseurs will happily demonstrate the process…