What exactly is a ‘sports’ massage?


Massage isn’t necessarily about scented candles, gentle pan pipe music and trying not to fall asleep, explains expert Mel Mitchell

Rest and recovery are just as important as your fitness and staying active. I know, I can hear you – rest? And recovery? Yes! Adding in a bit of ‘R and R’ and self care is an important part of any fitness routine, staying active or indeed as part of everyday living. As a sports massage therapist as well as a personal trainer I see first hand how important looking after yourself from both ends of the spectrum is.

What is sports massage?
I occasionally get clients that have never had a sports massage before, and they are always a little unsure as to what the difference is between that and a normal massage.
The massage that you would get as part of a spa treatment is nearly always aimed solely at relaxation and stress relief.
Instead, sports massage is a physical therapy, designed to help correct specific problems – imbalances in soft tissue that have either led to injury, or that could potentially end up as one. Its aim is to target specifically tight or sore muscles in order to prevent injury and to improve performance and functionality (but don’t get me wrong, sports massage therapy can also be beneficial in terms of stress relief!).

Not just for the sporty
There is also a misconception that sports massage is only for… people who do sports. I mean, I know, it is in the name.
But without a shadow of a doubt, it can benefit anyone and everyone. Everyone is built to move, and our muscles get used on a daily basis, so of course muscles are going to potentially become tired, tight or dysfunctional.
Think of your body as a car, filled with moving parts that become worn and that require regular maintenance in order to run efficiently. We all get everyday aches and pains, so why would it not benefit everyone?
Another question I get asked regularly is how often? It very much depends on the individual, how active you are and how much the finances will allow. Once a month is generally the rule of thumb I like to follow.
The most important thing to remember is prevention is better than cure!


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