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Sports Massage

Description of Sports MassageSports massage
A technique that uses deep massage strokes to prepare an individual for intense exercise or to reduce soreness caused by the build-up of lactic acid after exercise. Sports massage can ease physical injuries by stretching and toning damaged muscles, resulting in decreased recovery time. It can also soften scar tissue caused by previous injuries and assists the removal of waste products from the body. Since Sports massage also increases muscle flexibility, it can also be used to prevent injury

It’s a form of bodywork that uses Deep Tissue and Swedish Massage techniques specifically adapted to deal with the effects of intense physical exertion on the body. Its primary purpose is to ease stiffness and pain in both muscles and joints, increase mobility in muscles and joints, warm muscle and connective tissue prior to exercise and help in removing toxins and lactic acid after a workout.

This modality is used before, during and after many athletic events or activities. It has been found to enhance performance by keeping muscles at their peak of flexibility and strength, while warding off injury. Massage after great exertion reduces ones level of stiffness and muscle soreness. For some athletes a massage helps keep anxiety at a minimum before competition. The Sports Massage practitioner can use certain techniques to increase body stimulation previous to an event or workout, which increases mental alertness. Regular sports massage sessions have been shown to improve speed, strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as shorten recovery time between events & workouts.

Sports massageHistory of Sports Massage
Sports Massage has been around for thousands of years. The Greeks and Romans were very clear on the benefits of massage on the athletes of their day. Galen (AD 30-200), who was a well-known Roman physician, prescribed massage for the gladiators both before and after exercising. Sports Massage followed a history similar to therapeutic massage. In the late 1980's to early 1990's, Sports massage became a modality unto it self with more specific training taking place for the practitioner to be able to address the specific needs of athletes whose bodies are undergoing intense physical exertion and stress.



What to expect from Sports Massage
A Sports Massage may take place at a gym or in a Doctor's office and because of the nature of the treatment may not be created with a nurturing environment in mind. The location can vary depending on the situation. For instance, in the professional arena the massage may take place in the locker room immediately following the event. During the first session, the practitioner will take a full medical history. This will include filling out a medical history, answering questions posed by the practitioner and the practitioner's observations. TheSports massage practitioner should review any contraindications or precautions that may be indicated in your specific case. Because of the physical contact required for massage, if the clients has any open wounds or skin rashes the treatment may be prohibited to prevent spreading of infection.

The massage session takes place with the recipient lying on a padded massage table. Depending on one's comfort level, you may receive the massage while wearing lower underwear or shorts. Regardless, great care will be taken by the Sports therapist to make certain one's comfort level and privacy is maintained by the proper draping of towels. The proper draping procedure allows for only the portion of the body receiving the therapeutic work to be exposed. It is important that there be clear communication between the recipient and the therapist at all times throughout the session, especially, with regard to the level of pressure being applied, sensitive areas that are in need of special attention and the client's comfort level.

The Swedish and Deep Tissue strokes are applied to the body with special adaptations being made for purposes of sports massage. For the client's comfort, except for strokes designed to create friction, oil or lotion is used to make for a smoother stroke. In many cases, these oils are all natural. If for any reason you find the type or smell of the oil offensive tell your therapist at once. Some people prefer differing types of oil or even want a cream instead of oil, while others want unscented. It is very important to let the therapist know your preferences.

Sports massageSome Therapists start with the client face up while others start face down - this normally is based on the Therapists preference. The client's condition may warrant a full body massage. If the client starts lying face up, the head, face, chest, arms, hands, stomach, legs and feet will be individually worked on. You will be asked to roll over so the back, buttocks, back of legs and bottom of the feet can be addressed. However, in many Sports Massage situations, only certain body parts may be worked on. In particular it would be those areas that have received the most stress during the workout or if a particular body part has suffered an injury the attention may go solely to that area.

As in other therapeutic massages modalities, it is best not to eat a large meal before having a massage. It is highly recommended that one drink a glass of water after the treatment session followed by additional glasses in the hours afterwards. This helps the body flush out toxins released by the massage and limit any soreness that may occur. This is even more the case after one has participated in strenuous physical exercise.

The general duration of a massage is 50 minutes to an hour for a full body massage. However, there are sessions, which are as short as 30 minutes or as long as 1 to 2 hours.

The cost can vary from 30 to 35 pounds for the 50 minutes to 1-hour sessions. 15 to 20 pounds for 30 minutes.

Uses for Sports Massage
Today Sports Massage Therapists are commonplace, not just in the professional athletic arena but also in many health clubs and spas. Many professional and collegiate athletic teams employ Sport Massage Therapists on their staffs to help keep their athletes healthy and free of injury. Because this type of massage therapy can improve the athlete's performance as well as prevent injury, most professional athletes receive regular massage therapy. Besides athletes participating in contact sports, dancers, gymnasts, swimmers, skiers, track and field athletes all have found relief using sports massage. With each passing year more and more research is being done on the advantages of regular massage sessions for those participating in any form of physical exercise, not just those individuals at the professional level but anyone working out to improve their health and well being.

How Fast Will I Get Results With A Deep Tissue Massage?
It's important to be realistic about what one sports massage can achieve. Many people ask for more pressure, thinking that if the therapist just pushes hard enough, they can get rid of all their knots in an hour. This just won't happen. In fact, undoing chronic knots and tension built up over a lifetime is best achieved with an integrated program that includes exercise, work on your posture and ways of moving, relaxation techniques and a regular program of massage.

Gemma Hallatt-Howard and Phil Howard

Spray Tans


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