Sports massage is a deep tissue massage falling under the manual therapy branch of physical therapy. Despite the name, sports massage is not limited only to athletic use. It can benefit anyone needing a soft tissue mobilization to a targeted area. A sports massage can be beneficial in reducing inflammation, breaking down scar tissue, relieving muscle tension and helping to reduce pain.
Sports Massage Techniques
Your physical therapist may use a variety of manual therapy techniques in your sports massage, including:
- Trigger point therapy — A trigger point is an irritated area of soft tissue that is tender to the touch. Trigger point therapy uses pressure applied to the trigger point by the physical therapist’s hand to help relieve pain and muscle tension and help return muscle function.
- Wringing — Wringing is a manual manipulation lifting the soft tissue up and away from the bone, moving it side to side as your physical therapist’s hands move up and down. Wringing is used to help improve circulation to bring oxygen and nutrients to tissue, improve tissue function, and help release muscle tension.
- Effleurage — Effleurage is a technique performed manually by your physical therapist on a superficial or deep tissue level. It can help stimulate better blood circulation and drainage of the lymphatic system.
- Hacking — Hacking is a manual technique where the physical therapist’s hands strike in a percussive rhythm on the targeted soft tissue area. Hacking can help increase muscle reflex, help soften hard tissue and help improve the circulation of blood.
- Kneading — Kneading is a manual technique using an alternating pattern of pressure and relaxation. Applying pressure with the physical therapist’s hands can help improve the circulation of nutrients and oxygen and remove waste in the blood.
What to Expect During Your Sports Massage
A sports massage is different from a relaxing massage at a spa. It is designed to target specific problem areas and may cause slight discomfort during the massage process. However, a sports massage can be beneficial in helping to decrease pain, improve mobility and flexibility, improve physical performance recovery, and improve blood circulation.
During your first appointment, your physical therapist will evaluate your condition and problem area. They will then formulate a treatment plan customized to your individual needs.
Your sports massage appointment may include a combination of manual techniques to treat your condition the best. If you want to help improve your physical activity recovery time, your circulation, or targeted aches or pains, you may benefit from a sports massage. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment at REPAIR SI.