Sports massages have a number of benefits, from treating and preventing injury to increasing your overall performance. But just turning up for your massage sessions is not enough. In this blog, we go over some of the most important things you should keep in mind to make the most out of your massage session.
5 Things You Shouldn’t Do During a Sports Massage
There are a few things you should avoid if you want to get the most out of your massage session.
1. Don’t Tense Up
It may be instinctive to tense up when your therapist is working on a sore or sensitive area, but doing so is counterproductive to what the massage is trying to achieve. If you feel yourself tensing up, let your massage therapist know, so they can adjust the technique and help you relax.
2. Don’t Hold Your Breath
It is important to be conscious of your breathing through your massage session. You may feel the impulse to hold your breath, especially if your therapist is working on a bad knot or sensitive area, but doing so will negatively impact the result of your treatment. Full, deep breaths can help you relax, as well as oxygenating the muscles, making it easier for your therapist to work out all the knots and kinks.
3. Don’t Push Through the Pain
When it comes to sports massages, a little bit of discomfort may be normal, especially as tight muscles are worked on. However, your sports massage should not hurt! If you find yourself in pain, communicate this with your therapist so they can adjust their technique. Trying to push through the pain will only cause the muscles to tense up rather than relax, possibly leading to injury rather than benefits.
4. Don’t Keep Injuries to Yourself
Let your therapist know the reasons behind you seeking treatment and what you expect to get out of it. Give your therapist accurate health information so they can tell you what form of treatment is best for you, this includes information about any injuries you may have, even if they are not the reason you are seeking treatment at the time.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Speak Up About Your Preferences
Let your massage therapist know if what they are doing feels good or bad. After all, even though they are skilled in what they do, only you can know what your body feels like. Let them know if you feel like an area needs more attention or if the technique or pressure they are using feels uncomfortable. They will most likely be happy to accommodate, and you’ll leave the session feeling better for it.
What Should You Do After a Sports Massage?
Now that you know what not to do during your massage, here are a few tips for after your session, to help you keep that feeling of wellbeing going after you leave the massage table.
Avoid high-intensity training
If you are planning on working out or have a big sporting event coming up, it is best to schedule your sports massage after, rather than before, your workout or event. The goal of a sports massage is to relax and loosen the muscles, so going straight into a workout after a massage will just counteract the effects of the massage. Additionally, a deep tissue sports massage may even create small tears in the muscle and leave you feeling slightly sore, just like a workout, which is not conducive to your best performance if you have a big race or sporting event in sight. It is recommended that you wait anywhere between 12 and 48 hours after your sports massage before working out.
Drink Plenty of Water
It is important to drink plenty of water before and after your appointments. Just like after a workout, drinking sufficient water after a massage will help your muscles rehydrate, combat soreness, flush out the metabolic waste released through the massage, and rebuild healthy muscle tissue.
Just like working out, caffeine might make your muscles tense up, which is contradictory to what we are trying to achieve with a sports massage.
What Should You Do Before a Sports Massage?
A good sports massage experience starts before you lay on the massage table. Here are a few important things to remember before your session.
Find a Qualified Massage Therapist
When booking in for a sports massage, make sure that you are making an appointment with a qualified therapist, who has the proper training and qualifications to effectively help you.
Take a Warm Shower
Alongside the obvious benefit of getting you fresh and clean before your massage, which your therapist will appreciate, a warm shower can help loosen up your muscles and put you in a relaxed state of mind that will, in turn, encourage your muscles to relax through the session.
Avoid Big Meals
While you should not come to your massage session on an empty stomach, it is a good idea to keep your pre-massages meals light. You don’t want all your body energy to be focused on digesting a huge meal throughout the session. Additionally, laying on your front after a big meal may not be the most comfortable of experiences.
When Should You Not Get a Sports Massage?
There are certain contexts in which massage should not be used as a form of treatment, these are known as massage contraindications Contraindications can be either absolute or total, meaning that the therapist may either withhold treatment altogether or withhold treatment in a certain area.
Common Sports Massage Contraindications
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Infectious Skin Diseases
At your first appointment, your massage therapist will be able to tell you if there are any contraindications for you, and recommend the best course of action.
Try Out Sports Massage with 3R Physiotherapy
Now that you are clued up on the dos and don’ts of sorts massages, why not book your session with one of our qualified massage therapists in Leeds.
Sports massages are ideal for both athletes and those with postural musculoskeletal problems. At 3R Physiotherapy we offer both individual sessions and cost effective sports massage packages of 3, 6, or 12 sessions. Book your first appointment today.