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Sports Massage & Why It Works

Sports Massage & Why It Works

Despite the name, you don’t necessarily have to have had a sports related injury to receive a sports massage.

The idea of sports massage therapy is that it helps flush away toxins and realign muscle fibres. The aches that we feel in muscles come from tiny micro tears. "Tears?!" I hear you exclaim… well these imperfections can be beneficial if dealt with in the right way.  Muscles build by repairing this damage after they form. The body naturally doesn’t want to waste energy repairing that tear again so each time the repair should be stronger.

This can be advantageous for a number of individuals who have worked their muscles hard from an activity; say during your FastTone sessin on the Power Plates. However it can also occur in the tightness you feel in your shoulders after spending a long day at your desk. These muscles are repeatedly being used, every day, to create the same posture. They then build to become stronger within this position but if your posture is poor they could be forming in an inefficient way. It is important to break this cycle of muscle fibre strengthening and therefore tension to reduce the stiffness that can build. This is where massage comes in, if we keep those muscle fibres aligned it means that the repair of tears can happen faster and more efficiently.

Unlike holistic or beauty massage therapy which is designed more to relieve emotional stress, sports massage works on specific muscle groups to allow stretch and aid repair. It is a more active form of treatment that often involves the patient working with the therapist during a treatment whether this be by gentle resisted stretches to create a deeper muscle release or by performing gentle movements before and after treatment in order to gain further postural information to tailor treatment specific to the individual.

Does it work?

There are many factors that affect this and one individual massage is unlikely to mean the end of that repeated shoulder tension however sports massage has been proven to reduce the effect on delayed onset muscle soreness and swelling after exercise by 30%. (Journal of Athletic Training).

It can also be beneficial in preventing further problems before they manifest. Like getting the car serviced to ensure it keeps running smoothly.

However, sports massage is not the cure to all problems, it is important to ensure there are no underlying structures, such as ligaments or joints that are causing the muscles to become tight. If the problem doesn’t seem connected with a particular posture or activity then it may be worth seeing another health professional such as an Osteopath as they are qualified primary healthcare practitioners and therefore able to provide you with a diagnosis. 

Members and non-members can have a Sports massage at both our St Margarets and Balham studios. For further information on Osteopathy or Sport Massage in St  Margarets please do not hesitate to call Sian, our onsite qualified Sports massage therapist & Osteopath on 0203 143 5051,  or email sian@totalmotion.org . For Balham, contact Gemma Hendy, Sports Therapist with Chiropractic By hand on 07847 202365 or info@chiropracticbyhand.com


After three weeks my jeans felt looser. After four, friends asked, "Wow, what have you been doing?"

Lynne Hyland, SW London
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