Unbalanced muscles can easily lead to aches and pains. Stretching tense muscles and tonifying loose ones can coax joints back to their optimum range of movement without painful manipulation.
An integral part of sports therapy is advise on exercise . A range of exercises can be recommended to compliment the treatments. Done regularly as part of a treatment regime they can assist the efficacy of the massage treatment itself. No special equipment is required and many exercises can be performed in a few minutes. Traditional western style exercise can be complimented with oriental styles including Yoga and Qi-Qong.
Sometimes referred to as remedial massage. Sports massage, as it has become known, is deep bodywork ideal for anyone engaged in excessive physical activity, recovering from injury or in a fitness regime.
Western sports massage has been refined over many years . It's roots are traditional swedish, Chinese and Thai massage. Many of the techniques in this style of massage are taken from classical Chinese massage (TUINA) and Thai traditional massage. Unlike Tuina and Thai massage, however, sports massage is oil based.
Sports massage is increasingly being advocated by the medical profession to compliment traditional treatments for injury and pain and there is growing evidence which suggests it's efficacy. Massage just doesn't feel good, it reduces the heart rate and blood pressure , increases circulation and lymph flow, reduces muscle tension/ spasm, improves range of motion and helps relieve pain.
Body and mind
Sports massage is challenging bodywork and sometimes a more gentle approach is needed, especially if physical problems are being manifested as the result of some emotional trauma. All bodywork addresses a spiritual and emotional need which may or may not be apparent.
Lomi Lomi or Hawaiin Huna massage is about the flow of energy. Emotion or thought patterns can block energy flow in the body which in turn can lead to pain, just as much as muscle tension caused by physical injury can. Lomi Lomi helps release the blockages, and helps re-direct bad energy into good energy. Lomi Lomi therefore is a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experience.
This is a belief held dear by the Hawaiians who believe that these are parts of a whole. Lomi is a special massage technique that incorporates flowing arm movements which can be focussed on different body parts at the same time. There is no set format or routine.
CST is a very gentle and non-invasive bodywork modality. It's suitable for people who find energetic bodywork too challenging. Those familiar with Reiki will recognise some of the techniques. The basis for CST is controversial. However there is clear evidence that extremely gentle pressure can encourage the body to release spasm. The techniques are very relaxing and often sleep inducing. Clients have reported trance like experiences.
But I don't play Sports
Although sports massage has a focus on those engaged in physical activity, anyone suffering aches and pains caused by repetitive strain, over-exertion, or an imbalance in muscle strength can benefit.
Prevention is better than cure !!
Although sports massage is ideal as a preventative therapy, by toning and stretching muscles and balancing the musculature, problems can be nipped in the bud before conditions develop which would require medical intervention.
By focussing upon muscle groups and working specific tissues, sports massage will help you maintain or improve range of motion and muscle flexibility. The overall objective of a maintenance program is to help you reach optimal physical power and comfort during your daily routine.
If you are engaged in extra physical activity a pre-event friction massage with essential olis will enhance circulation and reduce excess muscle and mental tension. It will also improve muscle pliability. Post-Event massage massage will reduce muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with vigorous exercise. Various techniques enhance the body's own recovery process and reduces the risk of injury.
Even with preventative maintenance, muscle cramp, tear, bruise and ache can happen. Sports massage can speed healing and reduce discomfort during the rehabilitation process.
Lymph is the waste product of metabolism. Normal muscle activity is the force which moves the waste. Inactivity , sitting , standing will slow the process down. Tense and hypertonic muscles will also slow the process down. Blockage of lymph flow can cause swelling and pain. Lymph drainage massage is a gentle technique that assists the lymphatic system and is often referred to as a detox massage.
Treating Trigger Points
Acupressure and positional muscle release (PMR).
Local tension in muscles usually indicates a trigger point or tender spot. These can cause pain when the affective muscle is put under stress, often limiting range of movement with a consequent loss in muscle power.
Trigger points can also be the source of referred pain. Long standing tension may create nodules of contracted muscle fibres which may become fibrotic. Both acupressure and PMR can relieve these conditions. Acupressure is focussed immobile pressure applied to trigger points. PMR uses acupressure but includes manipulation of the affected muscle. The muscle is relaxed into the best position of eased whilst pressure is applied to the trigger point. In most cases when the pressure is released and the muscle allowed to rest, trigger point pain is relieved.