Sports and Deep Tissue Massage
Sports massage is a form of manual therapy which involves the manipulation of soft tissues (muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments.) Sports massage works by breaking down adhesions (knots & tension build up) within tissue fibres to create newly realigned & reformed structures, enabling normal function to be restored. The stroking techniques used open up the pores in muscle membrane allowing an increased amount of oxygen, nutrients and blood to pass through them, which speeds up the healing process of soft tissues.
Sports massage is a great way to alleviate muscle tension, aches & pains and repetitive strains which can be caused from intense training programmes through to everyday activities. It is an extremely effective solution to help increase range of motion and joint mobility, whilst maximising performance in sports and reducing the risk of injury.
Sports massage is one of the earliest forms of manual therapy which derives back to ancient history, almost 3000 years ago in China, India and Greece. In the 1990’s sports massage became recognised by the Western World and was introduced into the UK as a result of Per Henrik Ling who developed a form of massage commonly know as Swedish massage. Many techniques used in modern day sports massage originate from the techniques developed by Per Henrik Ling himself.
Sports Therapy primarily looks at the prevention and rehabilitation of injuries and musculoskeletal conditions. It uses a wide variety of assessment techniques to correctly diagnose, prevent, treat and rehabilitate an injury or condition; whether it be acute or long-standing. These treatment techniques and rehabilitation exercises aim to get an individual back to optimum levels of function, occupation and sports-specific fitness regardless of age or ability.
Sports Massage is very much a fundamental part of Sports Therapy. The ‘massage’ part is where most of the dysfunction within soft tissues are corrected. In many cases the vast amount of pain type symptoms are alleviated using sports massage or soft tissue therapy techniques. The techniques used manipulate the soft tissues (muscles, tendons, fascia and ligaments) and break down tension build up and adhesions (knots) creating newly realigned and reformed structures – leaving you feeling better.
Sports Therapy uses a combination of massage, stretching and release techniques, correctional exercises, rehabilitation and exercises programmes to get you back on your feet!
Strapping and Taping
The principle behind Pre-Competition strapping is to provide support to weakened areas of the body, allowing Athletes to continue performing with minimum amount of discomfort. Using tape and adhesive bandaging attached to the skin in order to physically keep joints, ligaments and muscles in a certain position; helps prevent movement and reduces stress through the weakened area. It can also be used as a great tool to help rehabilitate an injury during its acute recovery stage.
Kinesiology tape, Kinesio tape or K tape refers to a very thin, stretchy, cotton fabric which is non-medicated and latex free – making it friendly on the skin! It is designed to relieve muscle strain or acute injury causing discomfort. It is used to help reduce inflammation, swelling and bruising; increase lymphatic drainage and blood flow, reduce pain and discomfort, helps restore normal muscle function, promotes proprioception, and acts as an aid to help support muscles and joints, without restricting range of motion. Applied correctly it should last multiple days and withstand athletic activity and showering without coming off. It works by pulling up the dermal layers of skin and Fascia, changing the structures of the fascial lines which allows an increased amount of blood and nutrients supply to pass through the soft tissues – helping with recovery. It can benefit people of all ages, profession and sporting ability and it comes in lots of pretty colours to suit everybody
(although there is actually no physical differences between the coloured tapes.)
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger points only form in muscle. When muscle is stressed or injured, they often form a local contraction in a small bundle of tissue fibres which form together to cause knots, resulting in pain or tightness. These are known as trigger points.
Trigger points can cause pain in other areas of the body, commonly known as referring. For example, pain in the back can cause referral pain in the neck. Trigger points can also pull on other tissues such a ligaments or tendons causing pain deep within joints where there is no muscle. It’s important for a therapist to understand how a patient’s pain feels in order for them to apply the correct treatment therapy.
Trigger point therapy aims to break down the knots and tightened areas within muscles by applying pressure to one specific area.
Myofascial release is the ‘freeing up’ releasing and disruption of the Fascia network using slow, controlled techniques so that balance is restored. When Fascia becomes congested it causes restrictions; resulting in pain and tightness which throws the body out of alignment. As Fascia is a connective tissue it can cause what’s known as referral pain into other area of the body.
Soft tissue release uses techniques to ‘pin’ down and release specific muscles. Pressure is applied into a muscle, whilst it is then stretched (actively or passively) to release the tension within it. This is a great technique used to lengthen shortened muscles.
Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which specific muscles or tendons are deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle’s elasticity, to achieve comfortable muscle tone and increases range of motion. There are many different types of stretching techniques used, each for different purposes. Stretching therapy should be a fundamental part of sports massage, it’s important that Therapists have a good knowledge and understanding of the different types of stretches available and what they aim to achieve. As Sport Therapists we commonly use different stretching techniques in most treatment sessions, in order to provide the best possible care for the patient.
As therapists, we feel it’s very important to ensure every patient receives the best possible treatment & care. If you have a presenting problem or reoccurring injury then it’s important to carry on stretching, strengthening and exercising after treatment, to help repair and rebuild the tissues. This is why we assign all patients aftercare exercises which are relevant to their condition, along with some useful information sheets to help you understand the condition further.