Sports Massage – what does it really mean?

What does the term ‘Sports Massage’ really mean in terms of the treatment you get? Alexa will explain more…

As a Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist and Soft Tissue Therapist Alexa has training in muscular anatomy and the knowledge to assess, treat and suggest rehabilitation for soft tissue injuries. It also means she works closely alongside with the Physiotherapy Team to provide a well rounded treatment approach.
Sessions start with an assessment of the area of pain or injury. This involves checking a number of aspects such as posture, walking or running which helps to guide the best treatment approach. You might need to reproduce movements that cause pain or that you have been struggling to do in order to analyse where the issue might be. Your joint mobility will be assessed to differentiate between joints and muscle problems. Muscles are then tested to see whether  the muscles firing in the right order and doing the right things in the right way.

Treatment Techniques

There are a range of techniques that are used in treatment, based on what you’re feeling and what has been found during assessment.
I often start with more traditional massage techniques, moving through the layers of muscle with deep tissue massage. This allows me to feel through the muscles and get a sense of how they are behaving; Are some tighter than others, do some feel hot, swollen or less elastic? These techniques also stretch out the muscles and can calm the muscles to switch them off and rest the level of muscle activation.

Trigger Point Therapy

There are certain points in the muscles that will tighten up and when released, will release the surrounding muscle. This involves pressing into one spot in a muscle for a few seconds or minutes whilst getting your feedback on how the muscle reacts.
Trigger points, in a way, are similar to acupuncture points; I just use my fingers and thumbs to work into them instead of needles.

Soft Tissue Release

Soft Tissue Release (STR) combines deep massage with stretching. So whilst working into the muscle, the joint that the muscle controls is moved. An example would be working into the calves whilst moving (or getting you to move) your ankle joint to stretch the calf muscles.
A favourite technique of Alex’s is called the Muscle Energy Technique or MET. This uses a built in reflex in the muscles where they relax more easily after they’ve done something.
I get you to gentle work the muscle, usually by pressing into my hand, and after a long in and out breath you let go of the pressure and I can manually stretch the muscle to lengthen it for you.
This works really well on rounded “desk or driving” shoulders that have moved forwards as the muscles at the front of the shoulders are tight.

Myofascial Release

 The fascia is stretched over every muscle and part of the body, it merges with the ligaments and joints and literally connects the tip of your toes to the top of your head. Often when muscles are tight the surrounding fascia is tight, so gentle stretching techniques over the skin have great results.
Most treatment sessions will involve a combination of some of these assessment and treatment techniques, it very much depends on you, the reason for treatment and your preferences. If you are interested in a particular technique I’m always happy to explain what it is and how it works. Everyone is different so the techniques work differently on each individual.
To finish the sessions you’ll be given advice about what you can do to help outside of the treatment sessions. This might be teaching you some releases you can do at home, stretches or exercises to help improve your function.
If you’d like to book an appointment with Alexa give your Admin Team a call on 01189462299 as spaces fill up fast!