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Should you treat yourself to a sports massage?


Who doesn’t love a massage? For most people, it is often associated with a nice relaxing spa session. But did you know that sports massages are not only made for professional athletes? If you practice a sport, or if you simply spend a lot of time on your feet, it might be worth considering it too. Here is a starting point that might help you make the first step.

Who is it for?

We mentioned it: it isn’t just for athletes! If you are a regular runner or practice any sport, booking a massage will help you release muscular tension and potential aches. It can have significant benefits during training or before/after an important race.  

If you spend a lot of time standing on your feet, it is very likely too that your body is getting a kind of workout too. A sports massage can also help in this case relieve tension and get you going again with more energy and make sure you are able to stay in your job longer. 

Why should I get one?

Reduce pain after a workout 

When you workout, you might experience microscopic tearing of muscle fibers. Don’t worry, it is a very normal reaction. Your body will usually heal naturally. However, if you want to recover quicker, think about getting a massage to avoid soreness. In short, massage helps increasing blood circulation in a sore area. With an increased blood circulation, damaged cells receive more blood oxygen and nutrients to heal. It means it will relieve muscular tension and stiffness. 

Prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Most times, we tend to get a massage after big efforts. But what about prior to a big workout?

DOMS is an gradual form of discomfort or pain experienced after a workout. It can be felt 24 to 48 hours after a workout and usually affects our immediate mobility. 

Manual work prevents DOMS by reducing tension in soft tissues and increasing muscle elasticity. With improved elasticity, joints are able to move in their full range of motion, which means you can also improve your performance and move more smoothly. 


Relax you and give yourself some self-care time: 

Getting a massage doesn’t need to be a chore (or maybe it is the only one we actually enjoy!) A sports massage is also a great way to take care of your mental health. It is a time to relax, acknowledge what your body does for you. Take this time to breathe and melt into the massage table: your body will only thank you for it.

Types of sport massages

There are 4 types of sports massage that you may encounter:

  • Pre event / pre workout (to stimulate areas of the body that will be used)
  • Post event (to help tissues to normalise)
  • Restorative (to improve performance and recovery during training)
  • Rehabilitative (to alleviate pain from an existing injury and accelerate tissues to normalise)

Should it be painful?

Let’s be honest, a sports massage is not your usual Sunday pamper session. It might not be as comfortable as a relaxing oil massage at the spa, but can even be a little bit painful. Therapists often use specific techniques to work on trigger points, redistribute muscle energy and help soft tissue release which might directly play into the discomfort you might be feeling. 

It is also not uncommon to notice patients feeling sore after a massage. Your body is working to process the waste products from the soft tissue. In order to facilitate this process, avoid practicing sports too early and drink plenty of water.

How often get one

This is a very hot topic. Some love jumping on the massage table, others absolutely hate it and prefer foam rolling at home. The effect of a sports massage can last from a few days to a month, so it would be best for you to evaluate when it would be best to get one. 

Of course, the frequency might also depend on your wallet and time. In the UK, therapists charge between £50 and £75 on average per session - although you can expect it to be more expensive in London or larger cities.

Replacement

While many of us would not say no to a regular sports massage, our whallet or calendar might not accommodate it. You can try instead self massage, using more your foam roller or a tennis ball to alleviate tension. Using massage guns can also help if you don’t really know how to massage yourself.