Sports massage therapy (SMT) – for athletes and not only!
The first thing that comes to mind when someone says ‘sports massage’ is usually that it is for those who do sports. While this is certainly true, other people can also take advantage of sports massage. Here are the basic and most important things to know about this type of massage therapy.
What is sports massage?
Sports massage therapy, just as its name says, was developed to help athletes. It is beneficial to keep the body in optimal health before and after training, workout sessions or any type of sport events. Nonetheless, sports massage has many advantages for other people too, for instance, those who have a physically demanding job, who do a repetitive physical activity or who have chronic pain or other type of injuries. Usually, sports massage is used to relieve the tension from the soft tissues, which was build up during physical activities.
This type of massage is deeper, firmer and more intense than the usual massage therapies, focusing on the prevention and healing of injuries to the muscles and tendons. Sports massage uses many of the techniques of Swedish massage, but it also introduces a few new techniques, such as stretching, frictions, compression and toning.
What is its goal?
Besides addressing the health of the muscles, SMT also represents a preventive treatment. It assesses the problem and not only resolves it, but also tries to prevent it from happening again. It improves the range and symmetry of movement, the muscle tone and the way muscles operate, while it also strives to achieve a healthy posture.
How does it work?
First of all, the massage therapist conducts a full consultation. He/she establishes what the client needs by discussing with him/her and via observation. After discussing in detail, especially about the physical activity of the client and establishing an effective treatment plan (in some cases, the approval of healthcare professionals may also be required) the therapist will begin the massage session. Sports massage can be delivered to the whole body and/or targeted areas of it. Thus, the amount of time a sports massage lasts may vary depending on the different situations.
We usually re-assess the client during and after sports massage therapy, so that we can evaluate the outcome, offer advice and further treatment plans.
What are the benefits?
Sports massage therapy is useful and beneficial for various systems of the body. Here is the outline of some of the most important advantages of sports massage:
- The levels of discomfort, tension and pain in the muscles are reduced, while the muscle tone and flexibility increases;
- Sports massage can also improve circulation and increase the cellular metabolism;
- The toxins that have accumulated in the muscles are released more effectively; the muscles are loosened, and at the same time swelling is reduced in the abdomen and limbs;
- Since the nervous system is stimulated, the functions of the body increase;
- Sports massage also helps the digestive system by speeding up the natural elimination process of the body;
- The skin will be healthier because with the help of sports massage, dead tissues are released and new tissues are nourished
- Last but not least, sports massage is also good from a psychological point of view because it relaxes the mind, it boosts confidence while preparing before sport events and it also helps in releasing tension after sport events.
So, whether you’re an athlete, a person who has a physically demanding job, a weekend jogger, someone who needs treatment for chronic pain or if you just want to receive an effective type of deep tissue massage, sports massage is the answer.