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Sports Massage
Like a finely tuned sports car, keeping an athlete in top physical form requires regularly scheduled, proactive maintenance, as well as on-site treatment before and after the rigors of an athletic event. Therefore, sports massage therapy is classified into two categories: maintenance and event.
Maintenance

An effective maintenance program depends on the massage therapist's understanding of anatomy and kinesiology, combined with an expert knowledge of which muscles are used in a given sport and which are likely candidates for trouble. Focusing in on particular muscle systems and working specific tissues goes a long way toward building optimal conditioning and the prevention of strain and injury. The objective is to help the athlete reach optimal performance through injury-free training.

Event

Both Pre-event and post-event massage therapy are tailored for distinct purposes.

Pre-event massage is used as a supplement to an athlete's warm-up to enhance circulation and reduce excess muscle and mental tension prior to competition. It also improves tissue pliability, assisting in metabolic exchange and readying the athlete for top performance.

Post-event massage , on the other hand, is geared toward reducing the trauma that occurs after the cessation of vigorous exercise. Helped by massage, the body is able to gradually slow down yet maintain oxygen flow to tired muscles still requiring elevated levels. Various sports massage techniques aid the flushing of the toxins released during heavy muscle activity, speeding recovery and reducing the risk of injury.

Injury Relief

Even with preventive maintenance, muscles do cramp, tear, bruise, and just plain ache. Sports massage can speed healing and reduce discomfort. The following are common ailments and methods of response:

Sprains

A sprain is one of the more serious injuries, requiring immediate attention. Application of ice and compression will help, with massage above and below the sprain to allow release of waste and flow of nutrition. After three days, specific movements and massage strokes keep the circulation flowing, with a slow reintroduction of proper movement through range of motion.

Muscle Cramps

Therapists usually employ techniques in which antagonist muscles are tensed to relax the cramping muscle. In some instances, ice massage therapy is used on this often excruciatingly painful problem.

Bruising

Bruises indicate damage to soft tissue where vessels have been ruptured and there is nowhere for the released blood to go. Encouraging circulation around the bruise-not directly on it-is desirable, and can be stimulated by compression, cross-fiber techniques, or even long, deep strokes.

Muscle Tears/Strains

In extreme cases, where muscles are severely torn, an athlete should immediately seek the help of a physician. If tears are less severe (i.e., micro-tears and other traumas), massage will benefit the athlete by increasing circulation to the problem areas, thus speeding recovery.

Sore Muscles

Soreness often occurs in muscles unaccustomed to heavy work. Sports massage can significantly reduce discomfort by flushing the tissues. Stretching and heavy water intake also help to ease the pain.

Beneficial Effects of Sports Massage
An athlete's performance is regulated by the efficiency, precision, and freedom with which the athlete is able to move.  Efficiency is dependent on training and conditioning.  Sports massage allows for more intense training.  Restrictions from pain, spasms, and tension inhibit freedom of movement.  Without freedom of movement, precision is adversely affected.  Sports massage reduces many of the restrictions.
Massage causes hyperemia, making more oxygen and nutrients necessary for growth and repair available to the body area being massaged.
Massage stimulates circulation and lymph drainage to flush out metabolic wastes of exertion quickly.  It is three to five times more effective in combating fatigue than resting.
Massage stretches and broadens muscle, tendons, and ligaments.
Massage breaks down the "gluing" between fascial sheaths.
Massage separates fibrosis and breaks down adhesions that result from inflammation and trauma.
Massage helps to realign collagen fibers formed as a result of injury to produce a strong, flexible scar.
Massage reduces muscle spasm.
Massage identifies possible trouble areas and helps to eliminate them.
Special benefits to athletes
Massage allows the athlete to reach peak performance sooner and sustain it longer.
With massage, muscles improve in flexibility and are able to respond more quickly and powerfully.
Massage encourages better performance and reduces the chance of injury.
Massage eliminates muscle stiffness due to excess acid buildup.  It rejuvenates muscles quicker after intense workouts or events.
Massage offers the athlete a chance to relax and recuperate more quickly.
Massage reduces ischemic pain and pain from spasms, splinting, and tension.
Sports massage identifies and eliminates possible trouble spots, thereby preventing injury.
With massage, injuries heal quicker and stronger without loss of power due to transverse fibrosis.
Massage extends the overall span of the athlete's career.

If you're serious about your sport, or are feeling the effects of continuous exercise or exertion, call us and book in for a session and feel the benefits.

Back On Track are available for sporting events throughout the UK for on site pre & post event Sports massage. Contact us to discuss your requirements.

 
Benetthrope info@backontrack-physiotherapy.co.uk