Remedial massage treatments are an essential part of injury prevention for many serious athletes and sports players alongside warm-up exercises and stretches, staying hydrated, and using appropriate footwear and equipment.
In the same way that gentle warm-up exercises send more blood to the muscles and increase the flexibility of the muscle fibres, remedial massage can also help to promote blood flow.
What is Remedial Massage?
Remedial massage is a specialised sports massage technique designed to gently stretch and manipulate muscles to ease soreness after working out and assist in injury prevention.
Remedial massage therapists work on specific areas of the body, deep into the muscle fibres. Remedial massage is normally carried out after a sports event or training to reduce recovery time, or a few days before an event to maximise muscle mobility and strength, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
If you’re an athlete or play sports and want to increase your performance, speed up recovery time, and prevent sporting injuries, remedial massage could be beneficial to you.
How Do Sports Injuries Occur?
Most people are well-acquainted with the muscle soreness that occurs after working the muscles hard or returning to play a sport after a break.
This soreness is due to micro-tears in the muscle fibres that causes an inflammatory response within the body. The pain usually eases up on its own within a few days, but if you’re in intensive training and can’t afford to take a few days off, remedial massage can help to reduce soreness and reduce recovery time so that you can perform at full capacity again as quickly as possible.
More severe sports injuries can occur when the muscles are not sufficiently warmed up, or repeatedly overused. This can result in sprained ligaments, or more severe tears in the muscles, which result in swelling, cramping, muscle spasms, and pain.
How Can Remedial Massage Help to Prevent Injury?
Remedial massage can reduce the risk of sports injury in several ways:
It encourages blood and oxygen to flow to the muscles, helping the body’s self-healing mechanisms to work efficiently
It increases flexibility and range of motion, allowing for better technique and power
It gently stretches the muscle fibres, loosening and warming them up
It increases the rate at which waste products such as lactic and carbonic acid leave the muscles, to shorten recovery time
It breaks down adhesions and stretches connective tissue, helping injuries to repair faster
It relaxes the body – injuries are more frequent when the muscles are tense.
Preventing Injuries with Stretching and Remedial Massage
Stretching can help to warm up the muscles before exercise, reducing the risk of injury. You’ll probably be used to doing stretches on your own as part of your warm-up routine, but a remedial massage therapist can also assist you in performing stretches to increase their benefit.
To be effective, keep in mind the following when you’re stretching:
Take care not to overstretch – stretch injuries can take up to two weeks to recover from
Stretches should be held for at least 30 seconds or longer
Stay hydrated to help your muscles stretch more easily
Stretches won’t work if your muscle is jammed.
A jammed muscle is constantly contracted and stiff, causing pain and cramps. Remedial massage can help to unjam a muscle by holding it at specific points until it releases. This can relieve the jammed muscle in as little as a week, compared to several weeks of self-stretching.
Assisted stretches with the use of a tennis ball, spiky ball, or ITB roller are also very helpful in training and recovery, but you’ll need the assistance of a remedial massage therapist to balance the muscles properly for the best result.
Incorporate Remedial Massage into Your Training Routine
If you’d like to find out more about how remedial massage can improve your sports performance and assist in recovery, contact Performance Plus Massage for a consultation or book an appointment at our clinic in Cloverdale, Perth.