I found out about the benefits of sports massage a while ago, after I had started running. So keen was I to run longer and faster, that I predictably overdid things and ended up with nasty persistent hip pain. This soon progressed to sciatica down the side of my leg. Not fun – not only was I miserable with the pain but I was even more miserable at not being able to do an activity I had grown to love.
After several unfruitful trips to the doctor and an NHS physiotherapist, I was advised to see a sports massage therapist by a fellow runner. Mistakenly I had thought I would be going for a nice relaxing spa-like massage and I somehow doubted this would really do the trick.
I was so wrong! Sports massage is completely different. You may go through discomfort, but in a good way. A therapist may even have you yelling out in agony as tense, sore muscles are deeply massaged. Don’t worry this is all good. By increasing the blood flow, muscles can restore themselves to their healthy, balanced state and relieve you of pain.
Not only did I find almost immediate relief from my problem, I also picked up loads of helpful advice on running and protecting myself from further injury. Many sports massage practioners are also keen athletes and have lots of advice and tips to share. I discovered that I had a very tight piriformis muscle which was pressing down on the sciatic nerve. I had to stretch like a fiend after every run and generally not try and run 10 miles when my body was probably only ready to run 6.
So now a sports massage treatment is something I have regularly to keep on top of any niggles. It always feels great and I know I benefit mentally as well as physically.
Well documented benefits include:
- Releasing tension: from pressure build ups especially neck, shoulder, back and legs
- Breaking down scar tissue from previous injuries which will improve overall flexibility and pain within the tissue.
- Improves tissue elasticity from hard training or over use.
- Pain reduction: from tension and waste products in the muscles that can often cause pain.
- Relaxation: promoted from heat generated, circulation improvements, reducing anxiety.
- Improved overall energy levels.
Local sports massage practioner, Darren Carter, has been offering sports massage at the Aztec Spa in Torquay for a while, so I asked him for his thoughts.
‘Deep tissue massage has long been known for its many health benefits. It can help ease the tension and stress held within our muscles, especially with our everyday life styles. Regular treatments can also help to enhance the immune system and alleviate pain and long term injury.
Treatments are designed to target not just sports injuries but anyone who has prolonged pain and tension build up, mostly in the back and shoulders, as well as the sciatic nerve, commonly known as sciatica. With regular treatments it can be managed and in some cases eradicated.’
Darren has been practising sports/deep tissue massage for over 12 years now, and during his career has worked with Exeter Chiefs and Exeter Football Club, so he knows his stuff.
If you’re having persistent muscle aches and pains or have a specific sporting injury it’s as well to get things checked out by your GP, but if you can get to a sports massage therapist you will often find almost immediate relief from your aches and pains. And that’s worth every penny in my book!
A one hour session with Darren at the Aztec Spa costs £45. He can be booked for an initial consultation at the Aztec Spa on 01803 400190.
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