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Is it worth getting a sports massage?

Despite the name, sports massage is not only beneficial for those who've had sports or exercise injuries but can help anyone experiencing tension or muscle pain.

If you have a spot of niggling tension that won’t go away or find yourself hobbling away from your desk at the end of the day then a sports massage could be just the solution.

Sports massage is an effective way to maintain performance and protect your body from pain and injuries; whether from stress, training for a 5k, over-exertion at the gym or just bad posture.

What is a sports massage?

A sports massage is a technique that targets specific muscles and soft tissues to help people improve their performance and prevent injuries.

During a sports massage, a sports massage therapist will use a range of different techniques to access and treat underlying layers of muscle while working through knots and tension.

These techniques can include:

  • deep tissue massage

  • Swedish massage

  • compression massage

  • joint mobilization

  • trigger point therapy

  • neuromuscular release

  • myofascial stretching

Woman getting a sports massage for an injured knee.

What is the difference between a ‘regular’ massage and a sports massage?

A 'normal' massage could focus on removing knots or promoting relaxation.

Non-sports massages tend to be more holistic and follow a set routine.

A sports massage, however, will focus on a specific muscle group or overworked area.

Your treatment can target a specific area more deeply to release the fascia and promote healing.

Sports massage therapy techniques can often be more intense than regular massage and could use specific techniques such as active release and trigger point therapy.

Male runner holding his knee. Red colouring around the knee to show inflammation from sports injury.

Which is better – deep tissue or sports massage?

While both focus on releasing tension and knots in the muscles, deep tissue massage is more therapeutic while sports massage is geared towards enhancing movement, athletic performance and preventing injuries.

When it comes to choosing between a sports massage or a deep tissue massage, it largely depends on what kind of relief you’re seeking.

Deep-tissue massage can be very helpful for full body treatment and relaxation.

Man wearing shorts getting a sports massage

However, if you’re relatively healthy yet are suffering with specific areas of pain and tension, sports massage may be a better option as it offers focused work on areas that need the greatest attention.

Sports massage therapy uses a combination of deep tissue manipulation and stretching techniques to loosen muscle knots, improve blood flow and prevent lactic acid buildup.

Approaches will vary depending on the presenting injury or the sports or exercise a client participates in e.g. runners may need more work on their legs whilst golfers may benefit from an arm and shoulder focus.

A qualified sports therapist will determine what areas need to be worked on.

What are the benefits of sports massage?

Reduce inflammation

By targeting both the muscles and the structures surrounding them, sports massage helps to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.

This reduction in inflammation can be particularly beneficial to athletes recovering from injuries or trying to reach peak performance levels.

Prevent future injury

As well as using sports massage to hasten recovery from injuries or overtraining, athletes and regular sports players can also use it to protect against future damage.

Sports massage can also be used as a tool to warm up and cool down before and after exercise.

Boost performance

Sports massage is a popular technique used to help athletes improve their performance and prevent injuries. By targeting specific muscles and soft tissues, sports massage can increase blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and enhance flexibility.

Elite athlete stretching under a bridge

Sports massage also stimulates the lymphatic system, helping to flush out toxins and waste products from the body. All of these benefits work together to help athletes perform at their best by improving their endurance, speed, agility, strength, and power.

Whether you're a professional athlete or just starting out in your sport, incorporating regular sports massage into your training program can give you the competitive edge you need to succeed.

Pain reduction

Can you imagine not having to regularly take painkillers or apply pain relief gel to your sore back or neck? Tight muscles and knots in any part of the body can be chronically painful and really benefit from being regularly released in a sports massage treatment.

Relief from stiffness and tension

Sports massage can also combat tension by warming and stretching the tissues and increasing blood flow to the muscles. This helps the muscles to maintain flexibility and to move more easily.

To prevent 'delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)

Sometimes called “muscle fever”, DOMS is the painful, stiff feeling that usually happens after exercise that was particularly strenuous or new for you. A sports massage will help to ward off DOMS before the tension and discomfort kicks in.

It can make you feel good!

Sports massage has many positive effects on your psychological well-being, which helps improve performance and recovery. Dopamine and serotonin release will lift your mood, increase focus and reduce anxiety.

Whether you are a marathon runner or you have back pain from regularly slouching for hours in marathon gaming sessions, the sports massage therapist will tailor your treatments to your specific needs.

How do I book a sports massage?

All Active Physio & Pilates offer sports massages from their Royal Hillsborough clinic in Northern Ireland.

We offer sports massages on Friday mornings and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings in Hillsborough.

Sports massage therapist from All Active Pilates & Physio giving a sports massage in Hillsborough, Northern Ireland.

Give us a call on 07719 176265 or book directly on our site and you can enjoy all the benefits of sports massage!

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