Pushing your body to the limits during a training session, a competition, or a big game creates a feeling like nothing else. It feels good to improve on a personal best time, break a record, run further, or win a tournament. It’s a feeling of accomplishment that should be celebrated and remembered.
However, the day after can be a completely different story. Tight, sore muscles are often an issue after major sports successes, especially when they’re not properly treated. This, as well as injuries or strains, can also lead to issues in your performance the next time you take to the field, arena, pool, or ice. While slowly relaxing your heart rate, gently stretching your tired muscles, and icing your injuries can help provide some relief, sports massage is the best way to improve your athletic performance and maintain your body in peak physical condition.
The Benefits of Sports Massage
As an athlete, you need to ensure your muscles are in top condition to give your best performance. Training hard and mentally preparing for your sport is one way you can take care of yourself. Sports massage is another approach you can use to help you take care of your muscles, help heal injured ones, and alleviate chronic pain. Registered massage therapists are trained in various massage techniques and will adapt their methods depending on which sport you play, your level of play, and previous injuries or issues. Whether you’re a recreational athlete or a professional, sports massage will help you achieve your athletic goals.
Sports massage is relaxing, not only for your body but your mind as well. Your massage therapist will choose from various massage techniques, depending on what condition your muscles are in, your level of comfort, and your goals for sports massage.
Increased Blood Flow
Sports massage therapists will often recommend that athletes who are suffering from long-term injuries receive deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage techniques help to increase blood flow and circulation throughout the body. The increase of blood flow to your muscles helps support healing in those injured muscles, and it helps break up scar tissue.
Relieving Muscle Strain
Your massage therapist will combine massage techniques, depending on your pain points and level of muscle tension. A hot stone massage is a massage method that uses smooth, heated stones to target tense muscles, helping them relax under the heat and pressure of the stone. Your massage therapist will either lay the stones on your body or use them in their palms during the massage.
Range of Motion and Improved Flexibility
A typical sports massage session will blend massage, stretching, resistance activities, and mobilization exercises. Your massage therapist might select deep tissue massage, which helps to break up scar tissue from sports injuries and breaks down muscle adhesions. Your massage might be followed by a combination of stretching, resistance, and mobilization activities to help improve your range of motion and increase your flexibility. If you have a specific muscle or joint that is injured or was previously injured, your massage therapist will tailor your treatment around your requirements, both to accommodate and promote healing.
The deep relaxation of your muscles following a sports massage will help your body and mind relax for a better night of sleep. If you have an important sports event coming up, you might want to book a sports massage before or afterward, depending on when you think you’ll need more help relaxing. Most massage therapists will recommend not to try sports massage for the first time right before a big event. Each athlete will react differently to a sports massage session, and the last thing you want to do is make yourself more tense or sore before the big day.
If You’re Physically Active, You’ll Benefit from a Sports Massage
You don’t need to be on the Olympic team or playing for the Edmonton Oilers to need a sports massage. Anyone physically active can experience tight muscles or injuries such as shin splints, tennis elbow, or a swimmer’s shoulder. In addition to medical treatment, sports massage therapy is another facet of a healthy self-care routine for healing and preventing injuries.
The Best Time to Get a Sports Massage
You might immediately think that the best time to get a sports massage is right after a race or big game. Your muscles ache, you’re exhausted, and lying on a massage table might sound heavenly, but most massage therapists will recommend against this. The best remedy for tired and sore muscles immediately after exercise is light, slow movements and hydration. You’ll experience the most benefit from a sports massage the day after an event if that day is a day off or a rest day in between your next competition.
In-Season vs. Off-Season
There is no “right” season for a sports massage. We know that athletes train harder at certain times of the year, depending on your activity of choice, but your muscles need taking care of at all points of the year. If your off-season truly is more relaxing, you might book appointments less often. When the height of your season arrives, you might want to book more consistent appointments for regular treatments. The frequency of how often you book a sports massage will depend on your needs. If you suffer from sports injuries, you might need more frequent treatments. If you’re a serious athlete with many competitions, you might also want to schedule more frequent treatments. However, if you’re a recreational player, you might be happy with the occasional massage.
What To Do Between Sports Massage Appointments
If you’re excited about your next sports massage and need activities to do in between appointments, we have a few tips that will benefit your muscles:
- Stretch regularly
- Stay hydrated during workouts
- Create a cool-down routine
- Take an Epsom Salt bath
The worst thing you can do for your muscles after a workout is to stop moving abruptly. Movement, stretching, and drinking water are your best solutions to taking care of your body.
Sports Massage in St. Albert
Are you an athlete in the St. Albert area? Urban Massage and Wellness offers sports massage treatments by experienced professional massage therapists. Come relax in our soothing clinic while we alleviate your muscle and tissue pain. Book an appointment with us today!