Many athletes, coaches and those involved in all aspects of sport, consider Sports Massage Therapy to be an essential component of an athlete’s training and, ultimately, performance. It can be used pre event to prepare the body for activity, and post event as part of the recovery and healing process. Ideally, those involved in regular sport should have regular treatment as this will rehabilitate micro-trauma or muscles that are tight before injuries develop. Sports massage therapy enables an athlete to increase the quality and quantity of their training, can increase the fluidity of their movement, and helps achieve optimum performance.
Actions such as running require repetitive muscle contractions. When the muscles contract the fibres shorten. Although these contractions translate into speed, endurance and power, the cumulative effect can mean shortened, tight muscles, joint range of motion losses, and decreased circulation to the compressed soft tissue. Soft tissue therapy, including deep tissue massage, works to lengthen the muscles, relieve muscle tightness, restore joint range of motion, and can improve circulation.
Soft tissue therapy can also help to improve the effectiveness of the circulatory system. This system is responsible for oxygen transfer, nutrient delivery, and waste removal of cell activity. It delivers oxygenated blood with nutrients and electrolytes to muscle tissue and takes away muscle metabolic by-products and waste. Because the circulatory system has an impact on all body systems, increasing its effectiveness will mean increased delivery of nutrients and oxygen to surrounding cells and tissues. Soft tissue therapy helps to increase blood circulation, which is important to everyone, but of particular significance to an athlete looking for ways to recover faster, prevent injuries, and improve performance
Sports massage therapy is an essential part of any training programme as it reduces muscle soreness and fatigue; improves range of motion of joints and muscles; improves and helps in the recovery of all soft tissue and fascia; and improves posture and gait. Essentially it will speed up the rate of recovery and prepare the body for further training. It can also be the first assessment of post event injuries.