What is sports massage?
Sports massage goes by many different names, including soft tissue therapy, soft/deep tissue release and tissue manipulation. Athletes often seek soft tissue treatments to target muscle groups, ligaments and tendons which are prone to injury as part of training or sporting competition. Regardless of the name, the most important thing is that sports massage does not just mean that it is for sports people.
The Sports Massage Association (SMA) define soft tissue therapy as “the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of soft tissues of the body including muscles, tendons and ligaments. It is applicable not just to sports people but to anybody wishing to guard against or recover from a soft tissue injury”. It is because of the wide range of applications that this type of treatment is ideal for a diverse range of physical complaints, from elite athletes in recovery to reducing everyday aches and pains.
How can soft tissue therapy help me?
Soft tissue therapy can have many different, yet beneficial effects upon the soft tissue structures in question. These can include
- Increasing or decreasing muscle length
- Increasing or decreasing joint range of motion
- Improving circulation and lymphatic flow (Useful post exercise or as part of overall physiotherapy treatment to damaged muscle thereby aiding recovery)
- Reducing post-exercise tone and stiffness
- Assist in the removal of metabolic waste products (Useful post exercise, especially if you are suffering from the dreaded DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
- Remodeling of scar tissue (Useful as part of overall physiotherapy treatment post-injury, i.e. muscle strain or ligament sprain)
- Correcting soft tissue issues that may be predisposing a potential injury.
Within soft tissue therapy, there are also a number of different techniques that are utilised to manipulate, shift, move and coerce muscles into getting better, including
- Myofascial release (MFR)
- Soft Tissue Release (STR)
- Neuromuscular Techniques (NMT)
- Muscle Energy Techniques (MET)
Karen Shipton, our expert masseur who offers sports massage in Hertfordshire, has trained specifically within the field and is on hand. Karen is a qualified Soft Tissue and Remedial Sports Massage Therapist, having graduated with a Level 5 BTEC Professional Diploma in Clinical Sport and Remedial Massage Therapy from the prestigious North London School of Sports Massage (NLSSM). That said, all of our physiotherapists here at Harpenden Physiotherapy possess a number of these skills and if necessary, can implement them into your treatment plan.
How often should you get a sports massage?
The frequency of appointments depends on how much you are training and the severity of the condition you are experiencing. Our sports massage specialist will be able to recommend the optimum course of treatment to get to the route of your issues.
What should I wear to a deep tissue massage?
To ensure that we are able to easily access the areas of the body that need to be worked on, comfortable loose-fitting attire is recommended. Shorts and a vest or strappy top are ideal for access to limbs as well as the neck and shoulders.
What to expect from your first session
If you have only had massages at spas before, sports massages will certainly be a bit of a different experience. Our specialist will focus on one particular area of the body or muscle group and look to relieve tension through manipulation. Whilst the manipulation can be deeper in the muscle than you are used to, your comfort is of paramount importance to Karen and our sports massage team.
How much is a sports massage?
Our treatment costs vary depending upon the length of the session:
How do I book a soft tissue therapy appointment?
If it’s a part of an ongoing injury you’re using it for, or if you would just like a good sports massage to help relieve aches and pains, get in touch on 01582 761448 and book an appointment with Karen or Charlotte. We’re based in Harpenden, and have clients from all over the county who have benefited from our expert sports massage in Hertfordshire.