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Sports Massage - An Athletes Tale

Mar 1, 2008
I consider myself a competitive athlete and runner. Okay, I may not be World or Olympic class and I probably won't go breaking any records but I train on a regular basis in view of competing with other athletes to win an event. For years I followed a basic regime and set out my own training schedule to target a particular run, however it wasn't until I started using sports massage that I realised I'd been missing an important element in my training that soon raised my standard quite considerably.

Sports massage uses a number of specialised techniques and has helped my performance and hopefully prevented a lot of injuries. It also helped me overcome a particularly painful calf muscle injury I suffered a few years ago. Having had the injury before, I knew I would be out of action for at least two months but I found the sports massage reduced that by a number of weeks.

Before a marathon event I probably train for up to ten hours a week and often find my muscles becoming sore and tense as the week progresses. This affects my training as I can't push myself any further. As soon as I started seeing a sports massage therapist, my muscles felt far more relaxed and the extra activity I was subjecting my body to was no longer an issue.

My sports massage therapist (and all of the others for that matter) uses a deep tissue technique called 'frictions'. This gets down into the muscle fibres and scar tissue and helps to break down lesions. It can be pretty painful but I've learned to try and relax when it's happening; tensing up only makes it worse! The brief pain, which at times can be pleasurable, is worth it as I notice the results within a day or two and beyond that I find the problem has all but gone.

It's important to find a therapist who is trained and experienced in this field and also try and build a good relationship with them. I was lucky to find one who was also a runner and he understood exactly what I needed from the treatment and the cause of any problems I was having. That said, any decent sports massage therapist will be trained to identify your needs but make sure you can work with them otherwise you won't get the most out of your therapy. You'll also find they will give you tips on stretches and exercises you can do at home. I soon learned that some of the warm-up routines I was doing before a run weren't being done properly and as soon as I followed his advice I found my running performance improved.

Some injuries do need specialist treatment from a doctor or physiotherapist and a good sports massage therapist will advise you of this, but for day-to-day niggles, aches and pains sports massage is definitely the way to go. Also, as I'm not a professional athlete and can't afford (and probably don't need) a coach or full-time physio, I find sports massage to be a cost I can bear and a therapy that I can benefit from.

Definitely make sports massage part of your training as much as fitness or diet. You'll find that even after a few sessions your body will start to react differently and all of those muscle injuries that mount up over a season start to reduce. Give it a go!
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an expert on therapy and alternative medicine. He helps people that are looking for sports massage find a sports massage therapist near them.
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