What is a Sports Massage Therapist?
A Sports Massage Therapist is an RMT who builds a treatment around the needs of an individual athlete to get them ready to engage in a sport or to recover afterwards. It is important that the RMT knows the body mechanics and risks involved in playing a particular sport so that they can properly address the athlete’s needs and offer helpful self-care advice.
Sports Massage can take many forms depending on the current needs of the athlete. Pre-event sports massage generally has the goal of toning up and balancing muscles so that the athlete is warmed up and limber in order to optimally engage in an event. There may be a focus on a specific area of the body, like in sports that involve throwing, lifting, hitting, cycling, running, but will still take the whole body into account. Techniques may include rocking, shaking, and tapotement (tapping, pounding, hacking) to enliven muscles and encourage activation of the athlete’s sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight system) while also including loosening-up techniques like fascial and deep-tissue work.
Post-event massage tones down muscles and helps to improve recovery time. Treatment may focus in on a particular part of the body that was most heavily engaged in the sport while also including techniques to improve overall circulation and recovery. Post-event techniques tend to take the form of more traditional Swedish/Deep Tissue massage and may also include Trigger Point Therapy, Fascial Release, and Cupping.
Do Sports Massages hurt?
Generally, pain is not necessary for effective results in sports massage therapy, though there are occasions when it can be beneficial to include less comfortable techniques like fascial work and trigger point therapy. When included, these techniques are time-limited and in communication with the athlete, and the athlete’s pain threshold should never be breached. If the athlete is not comfortable with pain or discomfort, there are a range of other techniques that can achieve the same result, though a longer treatment time may be needed for a gentler session. Please feel free to reach out by email, text, or phone call to discuss your needs and Liam will build an effective treatment plan for you.
What are the benefits of massage therapy for sports injuries?
Massage therapy addresses the soft tissues and joints of the body, so the benefits can include improved mobility, reduced muscle tension, and reduced pain. These can all be very helpful during injury rehabilitation. Our bodies are already very good at healing themselves, but when engaging in sports and other activities, we can sometimes challenge and slow that healing process. One of the aims of Sports Massage Therapy in Toronto is to help get the body into optimal condition to heal itself. This is done with techniques aimed at improving circulation, reducing muscle tension, improving joint mobility, and encouraging activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest-and-heal). After a Sports Massage, Liam gives you self-care advice specific to your needs so you can continue to optimize your body for healing between treatments.
Is Massage Therapy good for a sprained ankle?
Massage Therapy can be a beneficial part of the process for healing of a sprained ankle. While we don’t specifically treat the sprained ligaments in the earlier stages of healing, we can balance out the muscles that are supporting the affected ankle and reduce tension in any compensating muscles. When your muscles are working in a more coordinated and efficient manner, this can help you to feel more comfortable and it can also help to reduce unnecessarily lengthy healing time.
While massage therapy can be a valuable part of the healing process, it is also a good idea to see your doctor and/or a physiotherapist for support in optimizing healing and getting back to full form.
Is it good to massage a strained muscle?
It is generally not advisable to self-massage a strained muscle unless you have been coached in techniques to do it safely. If some of the muscle fibres are torn, directly massaging those fibres can limit their ability to repair and can potentially even worsen the problem. A registered sports massage therapist can use techniques to reduce the feeling of tension and discomfort in your strained muscle, and they can also give you selfcare advice to help you optimize healing and comfort between treatments.