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You Don't Have to be 'Sporty' To Benefit from a Sports Massage

Fact: It is estimated that between 35-43% of the UK population is estimated to suffer from chronic pain, that’s 28 million people. It accounts for 40% of time off work and costs the NHS over £10 billion pounds a year.


It is one of the most common reasons why people visit Chiltern Physiotherapy, accounting for up to 40% of visits. Other common reasons to have a sports massage include recovering from an injury, pain relief from a muscle strain, stress relief, and as a form of preventative health care.


And also, just that good old relaxation that can only come from human touch.




What is Massage Therapy?


People with specific massage therapy training are highly knowledgeable about anatomy and physiology and received skilled instruction in the manual manipulation of the body’s soft tissues, including muscles, connective tissues, tendons, and ligaments.





Benefits of Massage Include...

  • Pain relief

  • Stress relief

  • Relaxation

  • Reduced muscle tension

  • Faster recovery time after injury or sports performance

  • Improved circulation

  • Improved range of movement

  • Plus so much more!


Here are some common massage therapy modalities that you may encounter, ranging from simple relaxation to treatment of complex pain issues and connective tissue realignment.


Swedish Massage


This is your standard relaxation massage. Swedish massage is very popular in spa settings.


As one of the most popular types of bodywork performed today, the overarching goal of Swedish massage is the ultimate relaxation of the entire body. It is exceptional at achieving this, easing tension while promoting the release of environmental toxins stored in the body’s fat and epidermis layers while simultaneously increasing the oxygen levels in the blood.


Swedish massage has also been shown to produce significant reductions in the stress hormone, cortisol.


Trigger Point Therapy and Myofascial Release


A trigger point is a small area of tightly bound and ‘knotted’ muscle that will produce referred pain into another part of the body when pressed upon. For example, a trigger point in the rhomboid muscle in the upper back can produce headache-like pain at the base of the skull.


Trigger points such as these are often misdiagnosed as migraines.


Trigger points range in severity from mildly annoying to completely debilitative. The affected muscle fibres are in a permanently shortened and tense state, and can even pinch nearby nerves, producing even more related symptoms.


Conventional medicine’s answer to trigger points is usually an injection of a local anesthetic or a corticosteroid injection. Massage therapy treats these by the application of pressure directly to the trigger point, going over time from light to very deep, (usually within the same session) whereupon the trigger point will begin to release and relax.


Follow-up treatment is nearly always needed to retrain the muscle fibers to lengthen and “smooth” back out. A good massage therapist can often boast a near 100% success rate with trigger point therapy, even when other treatments have failed.

Myofascial release is a broader application of this type of therapy that seeks to restore mobility and function to the body’s underlying network of connective tissue that is present in every muscle in the body. It improves lymph circulation (keeping the blood clean) and enhances the muscle’s natural stretch reflex, keeping the body supple and strong.


It should be noted that these types of massage therapy are not the same as a relaxing Swedish massage and can sometimes be quite painful as the body relaxes, releases, and returns to normal homeostasis. It’s important to communicate to us during your treatment if you are uncomfortable at any time.


Sports Massage


As the name implies, sports massage tends to focus on both pre- and post- event training and recovery. However, you don’t need to be ‘sporty’ or have an injury to benefit from a sports massage.


Pre- event for example, may involve stimulating a stretch reflex in the quadriceps muscle of a runner to help lengthen their stride, with repeated treatments resulting in a faster runner who is less prone to injury.


Post-event can take the form of a light, relaxing massage to stimulate healing blood flow to an overused muscle group, enabling the athlete to recover safer and faster, and enable them to perform at the top of their game sooner than otherwise would be the case.


Rather than a specific technique as in trigger point or myofascial therapies, sport massage focuses on the dual goals of athletic performance and recovery and may borrow heavily on other modalities to achieve these ends.


The tip of the proverbial iceberg…


The above is by no means a comprehensive list of massage therapy modalities. There are literally dozens of different types of massage, used in everything from lymphatic drainage and even neuromuscular therapy that seeks to balance the nervous system.


At Chiltern Physiotherapy our massage therapists are trained in a variety of massage techniques to ensure that you get the best outcome from every session. If you would like further information or to book an appointment just call 01923 283845 or click below to book online.






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