Muscle tightness and strain affects a range of performance athletes.
- Runners: Tight hamstrings can cause your strides to be shorter than they should be. This means more effort and longer time over the same distance.
- Cyclists: Tight ITB and quads, besides being extremely painful, can affect your cycling cadence and lead to knee problems over time.
- Swimmers: Tight muscles around the shoulder restricts you from achieving the optimal swim stroke.
Your muscles have to be well rested and relaxed to perform at their best. When they are tense, tight and shortened, they may hold back your performance and you will find yourself having problems to improve your timings or distance.
Sports massage is a popular form of treatment for soft tissue injuries. Getting a regular sports massage also forms part of many athletes’ recovery, injury prevention and injury management strategy. It is anatomy-based and employs various massage techniques to:
- release trigger points (knots)
- relieve muscle soreness
- reduce muscle tightness
- enhance recovery
- and prevent injuries
A sports massage is performed by a sports massage therapist, or a physiotherapist, who has understanding of anatomy and physiology of human body in order to identify the type of technique to use for its utmost effect.
Targets the root cause of the problem
A sports massage is a good choice if you have a specific problem – for example, a tender knee from running. The therapist may also be able to help you identify the root cause of a specific problem, and this may lead the treatment to other areas around the body. If need be, a visit to a movement therapist can also help correct the movement pattern that might be causing your injury in the first place.
How sports massage help our muscles
Sports massage helps increase blood flow to the tired muscles, speeding up recovery. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which help them recover quicker. This applies to knots and tight muscles and can be very common among runners.
On the other hand, sports massage can help break down scar tissues and improve tissue elasticity. Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain, especially in the muscle, tendons or ligaments. Inelastic tissues is also a reason for why strenuous training do not translate to improvements sometimes.
Stress and pain reduction
Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways including releasing the bodies endorphins. Your muscles will also relax through the heat generated, circulation and stretching during the sports massage. In fact, when a person receives a sports massage, their body releases the happy hormones endorphins. They are the body’s natural pain reliever and can help to decrease anxiety, provide pain relief, improve mood and enhance a person’s state of well-being.