Sports massage. Many of us whom have heard of it and to some who's even tried it, know from others that it is a form of deeeeep tissue massage which is painful. Is this type of massage painful? Let's breakdown the fundamentals of what makes a sports massage and why you should get it..or not.
Definition of sports massage
It's a form of massage targeted towards the recovery of muscle soreness, prior to a sporting event or to prevent injury, by increasing blood flow and promote freedom of muscle's movement. Usually, it's more utilised by people who are slightly more active in sports and athletics as it helps mostly with recovery and injury management/ preventative.
Sports massage has three basic forms:
What can sports massage help with?
What can i expect during a typical sports massage session?
As with any form of therapy, the session would usually have an assessment on your movements and questions about what you want to achieve which may take anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes depending on how complex your condition is. Typically, the session are anywhere from 30 minutes - 90 minutes, again depending on where you go and the therapist that is working on you, your goals, everything will usually be decided prior to the appointment. A form of emollient or oil is used to help with the techniques along the muscles. The therapist may use one or more of the following body parts to help achieve different depths of targeted tissue work and the positions for them to best leverage on your body parts:
Do i have to lose all my clothing for sports massage?
Never. Sports massage is never Au Naturale', however, you usually would have to dress down to a sports gear and if anything, you dress down to what your comfort level is and allow your massage therapist to work on you. Sports massage can also be done to a slightly less effectiveness on clothing, but still reap the benefits of it. Main thing is, never allow yourself to feel uncomfortable during a massage whatever the reason is.
Is it painful?
The biggest myth to having a sports massage is "no pain, no gain" mentality. Pain is NOT an indicator of something leaving your body thus making it better or increase in efficacy. Pain is the CNS(central nervous system) screaming out loud that there is too much pressure and it is causing more harm than good. A slight discomfort is perfectly fine but pain where you have to twinge and hold it inside of you to just bite the bullet is NOT ok. If the therapist working on you insists on pain is good, you should tell him or her to read this article. Working with the body, is always working with the CNS, if the nervous system doesn't like what's happening to to the body, it will not allow any form of relaxation or release per se, in fact your body will produce more tension to ensure that it doesn't get injured , and, you will leave with nothing but a worse off body part that was suppose to recover or get better.
Sports Massage Therapist credentials
Most consumers don't really ask before they get a sports massage or any form of manual therapy for treatment. It's important to ask what their credentials are and where they trained and so on. Sports massage therapists need a strong understanding of anatomy and physiology as it is what drives the assessments and technique during the session. As for Singapore, massage therapy is not regulated, so it's more important for you as a consumer to ask their credentials. Certifications and qualifications are an achievement and the therapists are usually very proud of what they have studied and attained. One good way to check is you can start a conversation by asking "what do you practice for manual therapy?". If you don't want to ask, google will usually have more answers than what you need.
Sports massage is a really great way to recover from soreness and other types of aches and pain, but since the industry is not regulating massage therapy in Singapore, every therapist will do it differently as they've had different schools / organisations to train with(so check the credentials or ask private investigator MR Google). If you have tried a sports massage and think it's too painful, find a therapist that works with your CNS instead of your body, if you haven't tried it but too scared, try talking to someone first to get acquainted to their style and ask if they do a trial session for 30 minutes.
All the best and let us know where you get your sports massage from!?