• Nathan Skidmore

Sports Massage - Self-Help Guide

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

Welcome! To the first in a series of Self-Help Injury Blogs! Advice without marketing, now that’s more like it! In this entry, we will show you everything you need to know about Sports Massage and why it may, OR MAY NOT benefit you!

WANT A QUICK SUMMARY? Scroll straight to the bottom of this blog!


Let’s be fair, you’re probably thinking “oh god, here's another blog about how AMAZING Sports Massage is and that if I don’t book in for treatment literally this second, my life will end!”

….not quite and I’m sure your going to be fine! Instead, I am quickly going to explain what the research by scientists says about sports massage and what this might mean for you and your injury or pain.


What does Sports Massage actually do?

The claimed effects of sports massage include:

  • More tissue flexibility

  • Relieving muscle tension

  • Reduce swelling and move blood throughout tissues

  • Reduce the likeliness of muscle strain

  • Mobilise and ‘activate’ muscle fibres.

For the best part, this is all correct. HOWEVER - a lot of the research done by scientists explains that there is 'little to moderate' evidence to support this! But why? Why is it that so many professional athletes and people benefit from sports massage, yet the science is abit iffy? One of the reasons is that there is a gross inconsistency with how the massage is applied. Meaning that nearly all therapists perform massage differently and that essentially, there is no wrong way to do it! This means that even though the science says evidence is 'inconclusive', lets be honest, its feels GREAT!




When can it benefit?

It can benefit after a hard bout of physical activity. Sports massage is claimed to help remove acid which builds up in your muscle during intense physical activity and also cause your brain to release endorphins which help with pain relief! The best effect from sports massage comes from regular treatments, keeping on top of issues which may arise from day to day living!


When can it be negative?

As this is quite a hands-on treatment, manipulating tissues throughout the body, if the tissues are damaged, this will potentially make things worse. When you have a tear in some tissue, its best to let this heal before getting hands on. It is also shown that sports massage has a negative effect on power output! This means that before physical activity, it might be more beneficial to do a bigger warm-up including some explosive movements to get your body ready!


Can I do this myself?

Yes! Just try and stop your partner or friend digging for gold in your upper back area, this is massage!!… Although we wouldn’t advise it as we are trying to avoid injury not start them! YouTube has many fantastic videos about self-massage techniques using your hands or sometimes some cheap equipment like ‘the athletes best friend’ - the FOAM ROLLER! CLICK HERE for a great article about Self-Help Massage Techniques!


Summary

Like you might have expected, sports massage has lots of benefits but don’t forget to think about those negatives! Anyone can do a massage but I think it is fair to say that professionally qualified massage therapists have the anatomical and physiological knowledge to be able to really hit the spot. Not to mention they are able to see if there is any reason why it might not be the best option to manage your symptoms or physical performance!


Try these techniques and let us know which ones you’ve found most helpful below!


*Disclaimer: The information which is summarised herein does not constitute professional advice, injury diagnosis, treatment or rehabilitation and is general in nature. It does not consider specific circumstances and the information within should not be acted on without an appointment with a qualified musculoskeletal practitioner. All information included in this, and future blogs, is for entertainment purposes only.

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