What is a Sports- or Remedial-, Deep Tissue Massage and Myofascial Release?
Sports Massage is the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of soft tissues of the body including muscles, ligaments and tendons. Massage is a general term for various types of specific methods – you might have also heard of Swedish Massage. During a Sports – or Deep Tissue Massage different techniques are used which are more stimulating for the muscles but at the same time helping to relieve any stress and tension giving the recipient a sense of comfort.
This type of treatment relaxes the recipient and can help to ease aches and pains hence triggering the release of the endorphins which are our body’s natural painkillers. These are released from neurones increasingly during exercise and this is thought to promote a feeling of wellbeing.
The Chinese practiced massage as long ago as 3000 BC. In India ancient Hindu texts name massage in their guidelines for hygiene and wellbeing.
The term “Sports Massage” refers to a variety of techniques specifically designed to tone, strengthen and relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and massaging in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.
Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structure within the human body, including muscles.
Trauma, inflammatory responses, infections, inactivity and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions in the body often resulting in pain (thickening of connective tissue and muscle tension).
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective massage technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions to allow elongation and to eliminate pain and restore supple motion.
Sports Massage for whom?
This healing method is suitable for most adults. It is especially beneficial for people with physical conditions including pain, arthritis, insomnia, lethargy, and stress. This therapy is of benefit also for the healthy as it maintains the balance and harmony of body and mind.
Athletes who are looking to improve performance and increase their competitive edge benefit from regular Sports – or Deep Tissue Massage. Treatment will shorten the time of injury recovery.
If you are a sports performer, of any level, a sports specific massage can be beneficial at various stages of participation. For example: For the conditioning or training phase and during competition, after the competition, for the improved circulation and lymphatic flow, for injury prevention, for increased injury recovery, to assist in the removal of metabolic waste, to sedate or stimulate nerve endings, to increase or decrease muscle tone, to stretch the ligaments and tendons keeping them supple and pliable, to remodel scar tissue when required and also to assist in mental preparation for sporting participation.
Although this therapy is safe for most people there are a few people who should not receive such treatment or should seek their doctor’s permission before treatment can commence. Contra-indications are various heart conditions and high blood pressure.
What is the treatment like?
Typically a full Sports – or Deep Tissue Massage lasts one hour. The recipient will receive treatment whilst on the treatment couch wearing their underwear covered by towels and a blanket to ensure modesty at all times. The therapist will uncover only the part of the body that is worked on. The therapist will use essential oils and/or creams for the massage. Essential oils act directly upon the hypothalamic (brain) centre which has a balancing effect upon the pituitary gland known as the hypophysis. These oils and creams also nourish the skin.
During this vigorous massage the recipient starts feeling relaxed and balanced which helps the restoring process of wellbeing of the body and mind. Through the penetration of the skin the effects of the oils reach the vascular system where they are absorbed by the bloodstream.
The recipient responds to a Sports – or Deep Tissue Massage in two ways as the massage helps to reduce stiffness in muscles and/or it helps to increase the joint mobility. The second effect is the psychological benefit of the massage that improves the feeling of wellbeing, vitality and relaxation so that the recipient feels balanced and calm.
After a treatment
In order to gain maximum benefit from the treatment the recipient should take some time to enjoy the deep state of relaxation. The recipient will gain maximum benefit from the therapy if resting afterwards and drinking plenty of water – being aware of the detoxifying effect for about 48 hours after the treatment.