Therapeutic sports massage therapy is a massage technique that focuses on treating soft tissue aches, pain, and injuries. Sports, regular exercise, and any other recreational activity can create muscle stiffness, tightness, and painful areas that require intervention by a trained professional. This type of massage can reduce muscle tightness, tension and it is a natural pain management technique.
Sports Massage Therapy is an essential part of any physical activity regimen, from a routine workout to high-performance athletic training. More people realize that taking care of your physical health goes beyond just exercising. It also includes taking care of your body post-workout and addressing the issues from strenuous physical activities.
Sports Massage Therapy is very beneficial for any person that engages in different activities. These activities include running, wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, cycling, CrossFit, swimming, tennis, racquet sports, strengthing, aerobic exercise, etc. Other daily activities that can also put stress on your body are activities related to your job performance. Work-related complaints can be due to strenuous physical demands of the job to stress due to sedentary tasks, such as sitting for long hours in front of a computer.
Regular exercise increases vigor and improves the person’s well-being. Physical activity can help relieve the adverse effects of stress and positively influence the person’s mental health. Regular exercise produces positive results like increased muscular strength and endurance, more efficient heart and respiratory functioning, and greater flexibility. As the body adapts to the physical activities’ demands, stiffness and soreness may occur, especially if this demand is significantly greater and challenges the body beyond the usual routine.
Delayed muscle soreness happens 24-48 hours after exercise. Different factors cause delayed muscle soreness. Some possible causes are local muscle spasms that reduce blood flow, minor muscle or connective tissue damage, or a buildup of waste products. Trigger points (stress points) may also cause muscle soreness and decreased flexibility. These points are painful when pressed (local pain) or radiating pain to a larger area. Trigger points may be due to sudden trauma (like an accident) or may develop over time from the repeated use of a muscle (or group of muscles) or stress and strain of heavy physical exertion. Furthermore, heavily exercised muscles may lose their ability to relax, causing chronically tight muscles and flexibility loss.
Sports Massage Therapy supplements other massage therapy approaches, including deep tissue, percussion massage, and acupressure. Sports massage therapy frequently includes using one or more techniques, including Cross-Fiber Massage and Trigger Point Massage.
Cross-Fiber Massage is a friction technique to create a stretching and broadening effect in large muscle groups or on site-specific muscle. Frictions are localized manipulations performed to soft tissues with fingers or thumbs. This deep, transverse friction is applied to reduce adhesions, increase local circulation, and promote healing. It can be deep or superficial in pressure, depending on the desired outcome. Also, this technique is used around joints to loosen adhesions and improve joint movement.
Trigger Point Massage is a manual therapy technique that focuses on detecting and releasing trigger points. Trigger points are painful spots in the skeletal muscle. Specific pressure into trigger/tender points in muscle and connective tissue reduces its hypersensitivity, reduces spasms, and decreases referred pain patterns that characterize the point. If left untreated, such tender points often lead to restricted and painful movement of the affected body part.
The Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy:
- Reduces muscle tension
- Reduces muscular pain and discomfort
- Increases range of motion and flexibility
- Decreases muscle stiffness and soreness after any physical activity
- Reduces the recovery time post-injury
- Increases levels of relaxation
- Reduces physical and psychological stress levels
- Aids sleep quantity and quality
- Improves athletic performance
- Shortes recovery time between workouts
These benefits result from increased blood circulation in the area that helps flush out chemical irritants and waste products stored up within the muscle. Simultaneously, it maximizes the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the affected muscle. This increase in blood flow is beneficial for tissue healing and repair, which leads to a reduction in muscle tension.
How Does Sports Massage Therapy Help?
Sports Massage Therapy helps the body recover from the stresses of physical activities and strenuous exercise. It facilitates the rebuilding phase of muscle repair and growth. The physiological benefits include improved blood circulation, improved lymphatic circulation, specific muscle(s) relaxation, and general relaxation. Furthermore, removal of waste products, better cell nutrition, increased elasticity of tissues, decreased painful trigger points, and faster healing process post-injuries.