Sports Massage Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some sports massage frequently asked questions that we encountered with our clients.
- What are the benefits of sports massage?
In general, massages have numerous benefits; it
– Alleviates stress
– Improves your body’s circulation
– Relieves tight or sore muscles
– Aids detoxification
– Improves range of motion
– Reduces instances of repetitive-strain injuries
For athletes looking for a better sports performance, sports massage helps
– Speed up recovery by flushing out the metabolic waste products in the muscles
– Breakdown and release taut muscle tissues and fascia that hampers the range of motion
– Improve muscle flexibility
- When should I get a sports massage 24 hours before my event?
Yes, you can. However, do let your massage therapist know so that he or she can avoid going full-on with the massage. Too intensive a massage will result in your muscles being too relaxed. This effect muscle recruitment later during your event. You will experience a lack of power and slower firing of the muscles. A full deep sports massage is fine 48 hours before your event.
For pre-event massages, like an hour before the event is usually light and aims to limber up the muscles. Not relax it as in the usual sports massage sessions.
- When should I get a sports massage after my event?
It is prudent to wait several hours after the end of the race. See here for an explanation.
- When should I get a sports massage during training?
There are no hard and fast rules as to how often you should get a massage. It depends on the intensity of your training and the propensity for your muscles to tighten up. High-level competitive athletes get massaged once a day to help them recover from an intense training session. Other athletes get a massage 1-2 times every week.
- Should I get a sports massage for my injured shoulder/back?
If the underlying cause of your injury is unknown, it is advisable to seek an opinion of a health professional like physiotherapist to first identify it. It is always possible for a massage to further aggravate your condition if massage is not the appropriate approach for relief.
- Will I get a full body massage during the 1-hour massage?
Unlike a spa setting, our aim is to not relax your mind but to manage your muscles needs. Typically, for 1-hour will either focus on your lower body e.g. calves, thigh or upper body. For full-body coverage, clients usually schedule for a 1.5 – 2 hour session.
- What is the difference between sports massage and physiotherapy?
Sports massage aims to release muscle tightness and/or help it recover from intense training. Sports massage does not correct or identify causes of injuries such as biomechanical faults, issues with the joints.
Nonetheless, some sports massage therapists have gained additional training and or accumulated significant amounts of experience with certain injuries. But rehabilitation is not an area of focus and training for sports massage therapists.
- How often should I get a sports massage?
At the minimum, once a month for an athlete who trains occasionally is a good start. It depends on your training volume and intensity. As a rough guide, we recommend the following frequency for sports massage. We also strongly suggest you supplement your sports massage sessions with self-release sessions with your foam rollers or massage balls.
Many elite athletes consider sports massage an essential part of their training and recovery routine. These athletes report that a sports massage helps them train more effectively, improve performance, prevent injury, and recovery quickly. Historically, competitive and professional athletes have been some of the biggest users of sports massage.
Olympic-level athletes can get more than 1 session each day.
“I have been getting two massages a day and ice baths,”
Michael Phelps, All-time Olympic Gold Medal Winner
AFP, 11 Aug 2008
“A businessman needs a laptop. Athletes need massages
and the right diet.”
Lolo Jones, Gold Medallist, World Indoor Championship, 2008 and 2010
USA Today, 12 Aug 2008
- Do I need to prepare for my sports massage session?
To make the most out of your session, we suggest the following:
– Take a relaxing bath or shower before your appointment time;
– Limit consumption of caffeine and sugar, as well as other stimulants;
– Avoid eating immediately before your appointment;
– Allow extra time in your schedule so you do not have to rush to be ready for your session. Otherwise, it may – take longer to reach a relaxed state;
– Be aware of your current condition so you can report anything that needs attention. It is important to explain – — what is going on health-wise because changing health conditions can affect your massage needs.
“The factor that probably boosted Paula Radcliffe’s performance more than any other is her ability to regenerate. Her regular massages were to give extra maintenance to the whole body. Above all it’s to give Paula’s muscles and tendons the best chance to recover from the heavy workloads she puts them through”
The training secrets of Paula Radcliffe article written by Orlando Pizzolato in TN40 July 2003.
- What do I need to bring for my sports massage session?
We provide shorts to wear during the massage but if you prefer, you may bring your own shorts.
For ladies, a spaghetti strap top may be preferred.
- What do I need to do during my sports massage session?
While we want to relax as much as possible, do:
Let us know your preferences. Everyone has different needs and wants. Is everything in the massage environment okay? The temperature is too cold or too warm? The lighting is too dim or too bright? Any other distractions? Are you completely at ease? Do you like certain music? Is the volume okay? Do you like specific techniques? Spend more time in a certain area? Each session is especially for you, so please communicate about what you want. If there is anything you do not understand, please ask so we can discuss it.
Let us know what is going on. If you have a tender spot or an injured area, bring it up and we can address it. If you feel you need more pressure or a lighter touch during the session, please say so. If everything is great, you can lie back and relax. If you find your attention is on something, bring it up so you will be able to lie back and relax!
Relax! One of the major massage goals for many people is to lessen tension and stress. Stress is linked to many of those aches and pains that demand our attention. In fact — according to Dr Sandra McLanahan — eighty percent of diseases is stress-related, so maximizing the relaxation in each session should help you to maintain a much higher level of well-being!
One way to quiet your mind is to focus your attention on the session — really get in tune with your sense of touch.
Proper breathing helps you to relax and to reach your session goals. Slow, deep breathing (from the gut) will provide your body with much-needed oxygen while signalling your body to let go of its tensions.
- What do I need to do after my sports massage session?
After a massage session,
– Allow for some quiet time before you continue your busy life.
– Drink extra water. One of the ways a sports massage helps an athlete recover faster is to flush out the toxins and metabolic waste products from your muscles. Increasing your fluid intake lowers this toxicity and lessens the strain on filtering organs.
- What do I need to do before my next sports massage session?
Make your massage results last by avoiding as many stressful elements as possible (as challenging as that may be in Singapore).
Schedule your next appointment. When you make bodywork a regular part of your life, you are helping your body to maintain a better state of balance. Over the long run, you stand to enjoy much better health gains through consistent sessions.
Make note of anything that occurs between sessions to bring up next time.
- Should I get a sports massage before an event?
If you have sports massage on regular basis i.e. once a week, you may have a sports massage as late as 24 hours before an event.
However, if you have massages on a less frequent basis, we recommend you give yourself at least a 48-hour window before the event to recover from your massage.
We recommend not thinking of having your first ever massage prior to a competition. People respond to massage differently and it is in your interest to discover how it will best suit you over a training period.
- How soon should I get a sports massage after an event?
Studies have shown that the beneficial effects of massage on muscle recovery were best realized when the treatment was administered within 2 hours of exercise1.
Reference: Effectiveness of Sports Massage for Recovery of Skeletal Muscle From Strenuous Exercise , Thomas M. Best, MD, PhD, Robin Hunter, DC, Aaron Wilcox, BS and Furqan Haq, PhD, Clin J Sport Med _ Volume 18, Number 5, September 2008
- What do I need to know about a massage?
Two important factors to remember:
– The effects are cumulative i.e. your subsequent massage builds on the good effects of the previous session. However, if the sessions are too far apart, you lose the effects all together;
– A single session will not ‘fix or reverse’ a chronic problem in an hour.
Our sports massage therapists have gone through additional training or accumulated experience with certain injuries, their area of focus does not lie in rehabilitation.