Sports Massage

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19 October 2020

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Sports Massage

Sports Massage

Sports massage is a deep form of soft tissue mobilisation. A sports massage can be applied in a sporting and non-sporting context. Sports massage involves a wide range of techniques that include effleurage, kneading, wringing, hacking and trigger pointing. A sports massage is used for general relaxation of the muscular skeletal system as well as being directed towards any problem areas. Sports massage helps relieve muscular tension, break down adhesion, mobilise soft tissues and reduce pain.
Sports massages are not limited to athletes. Sports massage is an appropriate massage treatment for anyone who is in need of a remedial or soft tissue mobilisation. The remedial effects of sports massage are beneficial post-surgery, alongside physiotherapy, osteopathy or chiropractic, or as a health benefit within an office environment.

Within a sporting context, people who participate in sport can use a sports massage as a regular part of their training programme. Sports massage is also effective as a performance enhancement. Although the name implies a sporting clientele, it is a massage treatment appropriate to all.
One physiological effect of a sports massage is increased venous return. Venous return is the rate of blood flow returning back to the heart. The increased rate of venous return is dependent on the pressure exerted by the contraction of muscles on the veins. Deep effleurage strokes performed in the direction of the heart acts to increase venous return by pushing blood through the veins. Increased venous return can be used to reduce venostasis and edema by increasing blood flow to a site of injury. Venostasis is the condition of slow blood flow running through the veins. Venostasis is a risk factor for forming blood clots in veins. Edema is swelling that can be caused by a number of medical conditions or usually by injury.

Another physiological effect from a sports massage is increased temperature. Massage generates heat in the tissues through fiction of hands moving over the surface of the skin. The friction between the tissues as the move against each other create the dilation of vessels and capillaries which allows more warm blood to flow through the area. Temperature increases the metabolic rate, which improves the condition of the tissues. Temperature also improves flexibility of the tissues, muscle fibres, fascia tissue, ligaments and tendons. Warm muscles contract more efficiently which therefore are less prone to strains or sprains. 

A sports massage will also help break down inflexible scar tissue. Scar tissue is the result of a past injury or over-use. Scar tissue is part of the healing process in soft tissues and is laid down between damaged tissues. Scar tissue forms tight, inflexible tissue which interferes with normal movement of muscles and ligaments. Deep massage techniques will break down or improve the flexibility of scar tissue and help restore movement. 

A physiological effect of massage is promoting relaxation. The increased temperature generated in the tissue aids relaxation. The fast removal of waste products in the muscles will prevent pain and stiffness from developing. Specific sports massage techniques promote the feeling of relaxation. Slow effleurage techniques are a soothing effect on the nervous system. 

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