Sports massage is a particular type of massage that has been developed specifically for athletic individuals. While everyone can benefit from deep tissue massage to relieve pain and tension, sports massage is meant to address sports-related injuries
What is a sports massage?
A sports massage is a type of massage that involves manipulating soft tissue to prevent and recover from injuries and improve athletic performance. Soft tissue is a form of connective tissue that hasn’t hardened into bone or cartilage. More precisely, soft tissue doesn’t undergo the processes of calcification or ossification. It connects, surrounds, or supports internal organs and bones and includes skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, lymph, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels, fascia, and synovial membranes. In its truest sense, sports massage helps to prevent and recover from injuries and strengthen and reinforce soft tissue that gets worn out by regular, strenuous, and repetitive physical activities.
Sports massage: a personalised massage for athletes and runners
Are you wondering: what is so special about sports massage? Or, what draws a line between other forms of massage like deep tissue massage and sports massage? If yes, we’ve got you covered. Sports massage is a particular type of massage that has been developed specifically for athletic individuals. While everyone can benefit from deep tissue massage to relieve pain and tension, sports massage is meant to address sports-related injuries. A sports massage therapist specializes in conditions and injuries experienced by athletes, such as multiple kinds of sprains and strains experienced by sportspeople.
The type of sports massage used by a sports massage therapist will depend on the type of injury or the needs of an athletic individual. The therapist will use a broad range of techniques to relieve sports-related tension in the muscle fibres of a sportsman. Sometimes, these techniques will include physiotherapy in combination with other forms of massage, such as soft tissue massage, deep tissue massage, Shiatsu massage, and Swedish massage.
The key difference between sports massage and other types of massage is that the former uses a more targeted approach to injured parts of the body. Other massages, such as deep tissue massage, are administered as more general and full-body massages. So we see a trend from specific to general when it comes to sports massage and other types of massages.
As we’ve discussed above, sports massage is a form of personalised massage. If you’re receiving sports massage therapy, your therapist will use a more custom, specific, and personalised approach based on your body needs. They’ll need to know about your athletic activities, training specifics, sensitivities, and injured parts. They’ll also need to understand your clinical history and past injuries. In this way, they’ll be able to address your issue better and help you prevent future injuries.
Sports injuries vs. everyday life injuries
Injuries in everyday life are different from sports injuries. Injuries in dayto-day life are not repetitive and are unlikely to happen again. For example, if a person falls off a roof, the probability of the same thing happening again is negligible. On the contrary, sports injuries are repetitive due to overuse of a particular set of muscles and can happen regularly.
If sports injuries go unnoticed, they keep on building up and compounding and can render a sportsperson unable to appear in the game again. For this reason, it’s essential to address the root cause of the issue so that it gets treated properly and doesn’t appear again. Runners, like other athletes, have a competitive and challenging nature. They’re never satisfied with their performance and are always looking for ways to enhance their skills. Sports massage aims to meet the demanding nature of runners and make the sports more enjoyable to them.
The benefits of sports massage for runners
Since sports massage uses a targeted approach to help athletes prevent and recover from injuries, sports massage for runners is administered differently than for other athletes. A sports massage therapist will know what muscles are overused in running and how to heal the damage. In the following, we’ve outlined some of the potential benefits of sports massage for runners.
It’s often thought that running is a cardiovascular exercise. While it’s true, it doesn’t paint a complaint picture. Indeed, running involves extensive use of muscles throughout the body. However, some muscle sets are used more during running than others.
These are the muscles that get used during running:
- Core muscles - a group of muscles that connects your upper body to the lower.
- Hip flexors - these muscles are located right above the thighs. When these muscles contract, your knee bends up toward your body.
- Glutes - these muscles are found in the buttocks that contract to push you forward during running.
- Quadriceps - as the name suggests, quadriceps are a group of four long muscles. These are located on the front of your thighs. When the quadriceps contract, your knee extends to pull you forward.
- Hamstrings - these are located on the back of the thigh. Hamstrings are responsible for hip extension and knee flexion.
- Calf muscles - these muscles are found on the back of the lower leg. Calf muscles are used to push you off during running and to raise the leg.