If you've been training for some time now, you've probably realized that training brings with it some pain to live with. Sure, it is possible to stretch and this will help tremendously with mobility and nutrient distribution, but to release muscle knots, a specialist is needed.
A sports massage can help a lot for muscle soreness by improving muscle elasticity. Find out the pros and cons of sports massage and whether to invest time and money in it, or if you can take care of yourself without resorting to a massage.
What is Sports Massage?
A sports massage differs from a classic relaxing day in a spa, due to the different final objectives. For a relaxing massage, the goal is to relax. This helps the muscles to relax and allows us to relieve any stress due to posture.
A sports massage, on the other hand, is much more intense and the goal is to be able to develop the maximum range of motion, through specific muscle contractions and movements. Therapists use different techniques such as gua sha, acupuncture, cupping, and other forms of trigger point release.
Sometimes it is not enough to massage the affected area to make the pain go away. For example, shoulder pain could result from tense pecs, tense trapezius, and tense hamstrings. Releasing these overtrained muscles can release tension from the shoulders and improve their range of motion.
The obvious benefit of a sports massage includes more relaxed muscles and better movement, as well as a better supply of blood and nutrients to the affected areas. All this translates into better performance.
Using techniques such as active and passive stretching not only offers relief but also a better connection between the mind and muscles.
Part of the reason you are unable to contract a particular area the right way (and feel pain), is the incorrect posture.
For example, hunched shoulders are bad when it comes to impingement syndrome. The problem, however, is not to be found in the shoulder girdle, usually stems from an overactive muscle in the back of the shoulder and back.
Releasing the trigger points of the trapezius (first rib), rotator cuff and even the lateral ones will allow the shoulder to return to the correct position and move correctly.
Are there any cons?
Among the cons of a sports massage, we can mention pain. This is not about simply stretching a yoga class on Saturday morning.
To relieve pain, you really have to go through intense (albeit brief) pain to see results. It is also said that sports massages and other forms of therapy can completely cure any problem. False, you will still need to see a doctor and have an operation if you have a broken bone, or a torn ligament, and these things are not things to put in the hands of a therapist.
If you don't see results through massages, you should talk to your doctor and possibly get x-rays.
Another cons of sports massages is simple: time and money. For a good upper body massage, it takes about an hour and a half for a cost of around 100 euros. A small fortune is spent on a weekly routine.
Despite being long, painful and expensive, sports massages are a fantastic choice for your body. They will also improve your longevity in the gym for years to come.
A good tip is to have a sports massage once a month, and then work with your therapist to understand how to take care of yourself at home, through trigger point release and active stretching. Take care of your body and you will be rewarded over time.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you are concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or making major changes to your diet.