Sports massage is a form of deep tissue massage that is mostly focussed on releasing tension and breaking down muscular adhesions brought about by physical activity. Inter-training/maintenance sports massage is key to preventing muscle imbalance and injury.
Muscle adhesions, also known as ‘knots’ commonly occur where there is greater demand or stress on that part of the muscle. During exercise, our muscle fibres tear – especially when pushing ourselves harder. The body then heals, producing stronger and additional muscle fibres. It is during this healing process that the fibres ‘glue’ together forming a tight bundle. I often describe this as being similar to when cooking spaghetti and the strands clump together. This leads to an in-efficient muscle as the individual fibres are unable to fully contract or stretch out. Furthermore, blood flow to the area becomes restricted, reducing oxygen and nutrient delivery and removal of waste products.
Post-event/recovery massage (0-24 hours) can also be beneficial. The pressures applied are modified to provide a soothing effleurage to tired muscles. The aim is to flush away waste products through the promotion of blood and lymphatic flow. Fresh oxygen and nutrients vital for repair and replenishing are also brought into the muscle.