Struggling to recover from a muscle injury? Want to prevent a recurrence? Or just keep your body feeling good? Or get on court or in the gym more often? Sports massage might just be for you.
We are very lucky to have North Beds Osteopaths & Physios offering treatments here at the Club, but what some members may not be aware of is that, in addition to osteopathy and physiotherapy, they also offer sports massage. Sports massage therapist, John Baker is based here at the Club two days a week, and we spent some time with him to find out more about sports massage and its benefits.
What is sports massage?
Sports massage is a form of massage involving the manipulation of soft tissue to benefit a person engaged in regular physical activity. Soft tissue is connective tissue that has not hardened into bone and cartilage; it includes skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia (a form of connective tissue that lines and ensheathes the other soft tissues). It involves applying sustained pressure using slow, deep strokes to target the inner layers of your muscles and connective tissues. This helps to break up scar tissue that forms following an injury and reduce tension in muscle and other soft tissue.
What are the benefits of sport massage?
In a nutshell, the key benefits from sports massage are to release muscle tension, support good posture, reduce pain and assist with recovery. The application of sports massage, prior to and after exercise, may enhance performance, aid recovery and prevent injury. Other benefits noted by patients are its stress-relieving impact, increased flexibility, increased joint range of motion (rom), improved circulation and better sleep!
Who is sports massage for?
For everyone and not just for athletes! John mainly works in two ways – reactive and injury prevention. The reactive work is in response to an injury, often sports or exercise related but not always. Injuries are often caused because the muscles have not been warmed up properly before exercise but also by a general stiffness and tightness, perhaps from long hours sat at a desk. The injury prevention work is about looking after your body and really optimising it to perform at its best for sport but also in everyday life! John has also seen an increasing number of patients visit for scar treatment (including caesarean sections) to help the body repair after surgeries.
What happens at the first appointment?
The first session is normally an hour long. John will discuss with you your previous medical history including any surgeries and previous injures. There will then be an appropriate assessment which could include a postural assessment and a range of motion testing and muscle strength tests. John will then start to work on the best course of treatment which may be a one-off or a regular course.
Will it hurt!?
There can be a perception that sports massage is painful. However, John works with patients to ensure this is not the case during a treatment. It’s true that as the muscle tissue has been worked, it’s likely you may experience some soreness for 24 hours after a treatment. However, the results of the treatment should come very quickly after this, and longer-term pain may be alleviated.
John Baker – Profile
John came to sports massage therapy after an injury he received when he was a Royal Engineer. Despite trying several possible solutions, he was struggling to improve and so tried sports massage which worked almost immediately for him. And so, began his interest in the therapy and his fascination with myofascia (the web of connective tissue that surrounds and interacts with all our muscles, joints and organs) and how it can affect seemingly unconnected areas of the body. He trained for a BTEC Level 5 in Sports and Remedial Massage Therapy at the highly regarded North London School of Sports Massage, qualifying in 2014.
John has also had some fascinating experiences working with elite professional sports teams, including the Argentinian Rugby Team, the Chinese Freestyle Snowboarding team and the British Bobsleigh team.
John is available at the Club on Mondays 9-6pm and Thursdays 3-8pm. Appointments can be booked through the North Beds team on 01234 823621.