Put the tinkling music and nudity aside as massage can have benefits for your sporting performance
By Katie Garner
When people first think of massage, you are instantly bombarded by the vaguely terrifying image of lying with the majority of your bits and bobs on show and being pummelled by an impossibly firm massage technique while supposedly relaxing background music is so xylophone top heavy that it just leaves you needing the little girl’s room.
First things first, massage is not scary in the slightest. Working in the health and beauty industry I have now had the good luck to sample a variety of massage styles at a selection of London salons and I can assure you that there is nothing phobia-inducing about it. Typically associated with some precious me-time and the opportunity to unwind after a highly stressful week at work, massage actually has a mix of purposes, and the techniques can be tailored so that each massage is fine tuned to exactly what your body needs. This is where sports massage comes in.
Sports massage is performed by a qualified sports therapist and is designed to release muscle tension held in your body, as well as restore balance to your musculo-skeletal system. This does mean however that the silky smooth strokes of say, a Swedish massage, won’t be present and that your treatment may border on painful or uncomfortable, but that is purely because it’s purpose is not total relaxation – it’s aim is to get your body in prime position for physical excellence. Although this style of massage is most commonly associated with those who have injuries, it is also equally beneficial for those who are fully fit, as it can help enhance general sporting performance.
There are a variety of physical benefits with sports massage that help get your body pumped up and ready to go, as they all focus on clearing the passageways of your body to enable it to work at optimum speed and efficiency. For example, sports massage enhanced tissue permeability, which basically means that it enables the pores in your tissues to widen. This in turn means that cramp inducing lactic acid can escape your muscles quickly while oxygen and nutrients can equally flood in and help relieve your muscles. This makes your body’s general recovery time faster.
For those who may have suffered injuries in the past, sports massage can help with scar tissue realignment. You get scar tissue after every injury and this can build up awkwardly and make you a bit inflexible or clumsy. Sports massage uses firm and brisk movements that can help loosen this and get things back in position, making you altogether more flexible. Sports massage is also great for enhancing micro circulation and generally getting your blood flow pumping to tissues of your target muscles.
Although not specifically designed to be the ultimate relaxing experience, at the end of the day, sports massage is still a massage, and I have yet to encounter a massage that hasn’t had me slightly dozing off at one point or another. The strokes are more decided and strong than a typical relaxing massage but they still work their unwinding magic to have you feeling less tense and to help free up muscle knots that may be pestering you. Working through these knots will also ultimately lesson pain in your body, although it may feel stiff and uncomfortable at the time. Once loosened and over the next couple of days after your treatment, your muscles will feel freer and more flexible.
As well as all these body boosting benefits, you should also consider the psychological benefits. Chilling out on a massage bed will help reduce anxiety that you may be experiencing and will help you zone out for a bit. It also has its uses before sporting events to get your body into prime condition, and it may accelerate your confidence to have a specific sports treatment before you have to push your body into kick-butt mode.
Why don’t you check out Wahanda.com, and book yourself in for your first sports massage treatment? Let us know what you think!