Massage as an age-long naturopathic technique is probably the simplest existing form of medical care that it has been applied for a wide range of health purposes such as relaxation, fitness, recovery, pain and stress relief. It has a very long history, dating back to thousands of years ago when it was being practiced in China, Egypt, India, etc.
By definition, massage is the manual manipulation of the muscles and other soft tissues of the body (tendons, ligaments, fasciae, etc.) for the therapeutic purposes of relieving stress and discomfort, speeding up recovery and overall, enhancing the recipient’s well-being.
Are you planning on getting a massage but you’ve not had one before?
It’s only natural that you may have questions about what to expect during your first session. Not to worry, though; the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT) offers a few important points for first-time recipients of massage therapy:
Massage should be a relaxing and rewarding experience ― in no way should it cause you severe pain or discomfort (although some mild pain is to be expected, especially as you're getting a sports massage). Before you lie down, take some time to give the massage therapist complete and accurate information about your medical history. And if you do experience any discomfort from either the massage or maybe even anything around you, let your therapist know pronto.
Sports Massage (1Hr/£30)
Different massage techniques with different results: massage therapists will usually recommend techniques best suited to your needs so, don't be scared to discuss your health goals with them so they can know what works best for you.
You can choose to leave your clothes on during a session or remove them down to your undergarments.
A better way to go about this is to wear sports apparel so the therapist can easily access those areas that need more attention.
If you feel like sharing anything while relieving yourself of physical stress, go ahead. There's no rule against talking to your therapist when getting a sports massage; in fact, it can be good for blowing off some steam up there. You can remain silent so you can concentrate on good thoughts and let go of negative ones, if that works for you — then there's sleep too.
As you may already know, there are different types of massage therapy techniques (or modalities, as they are sometimes called). Each of these techniques has a specific end goal which depends on the recipient’s needs, with the most common ones being chair (or seated) massage, trigger point therapy, Swedish massage (the most popular technique), hot stone massage, aromatherapy, deep tissue massage, and sports massage.
In the case of sports massage, the focus is directed at:
- alleviating physical pain and mental stress
- improving the athletes’ performance
- boosting their fitness levels
- shortening time of recovery
- reducing the demands of the professional sports they perform on their bodies.
Sports Massage (1Hr/£30)
What Differentiates a Sports Massage?
Most forms of specialized massage therapies are usually defined by the techniques that are employed and/or the target area(s). However, sports massage is not a specific form of massage therapy but rather employs the same classic massage techniques ― tailored to the athlete’s needs, though (e.g. the Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, fluid techniques etc.) ― as a regular massage but it's applied to a target audience (i.e. athletes, sports enthusiasts and other individuals with an active lifestyle).
The major difference is that the sports massage therapist will have a knowledge of common sports injuries and a deep understanding of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology. They'd also be proficient at assessing athletes’ medical history, palpitation to determine range of motion and performing manual muscle testing.
Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)
Sports massage therapy is also performed in conjunction with neuromuscular therapy (NMT), a well-known technique for relieving chronic muscular pain and soft tissue injuries throughout the body. Neuromuscular massage deals with the relationship between nerves and muscles (hence the name), helping with myofascial release of trigger (or tender) points which cause “referred pain”. Referred pain, also called reflective pain, is pain that originates from a location entirely different from where it’s felt.
The NMT technique releases myofascial trigger points in muscles and also removes restrictions in range of motion in (especially in tendons, ligaments and fascia) to eliminate referred pain and restore free range of movement. It works by using a combination of targeted compression and friction massage techniques: the latter is applied to create a stretching and broadening effect in large muscle groups while the former is applied to create a stimulating and softening effect in soft tissues.