Sometimes you get so wrapped up in a topic that you just don’t see the wood for the trees. Ever had that flustered, slap-in-the-face feeling when someone suggests a solution to a problem and it’s so obvious you’re embarrassed you missed it? Yeah, me too. All the time really, and it’s just not something you get used to, is it?
Well, that’s exactly the feeling I had earlier this week when I was talking to a potential client on the phone. They seemed nervous when describing their symptoms to me, almost embarrassed. Now, this wasn’t any shameful condition they were describing, it was quite ordinary really so it had me scratching my head as to what the problem was. What was making them so uneasy on the phone? It couldn’t be my easy manner, my charming tone or witty, yet insightful jokes. Could it?
I’d like to say I figured it out on my own, but instead the answer fell into my lap. What really happened was they tentatively said; “But…I don’t do any sport. Is that ok?” Yup, there it is, that feeling. Smack. In. The. Face. Of course I know what a sports massage is, and so do the people around me who either study it, or have to sit and nod politely as I drone on about the many (many, many) benefits of sports massage and chiropractic and how amazing it makes you feel and the new techniques I just learnt and….. Oops, sorry. Got carried away.
The point is, sports massage is not just for sports people, or even sporty people – it’s for everybody. I have had clients in their 80’s come and receive the same type of treatment as marathon runners, weightlifters and everyone in between. If you have a body and you use it, sports massage is for you. If you have a body and you don’t think you use it, sports massage is still for you!
So what is sports massage?
That, I hear you cry, is a stupid name! Why call it “sports” massage if it’s not just for athletes?! The reason is there are many types of massage out there; Swedish massage, sports massage, hot stone, deep-tissue, shiatsu, soft tissue release….. Yawn. Loads. You get the idea. The point here is that there are lots of different styles of massage available, and although they all try to achieve the same thing, they do so in slightly different ways.
Sports massage tends to be a little more…. “spicy” than others. “Spicy” being one of the best descriptions for it that I’ve come across. You don’t want to get this confused with a therapeutic massage, which is all oils and incense and calmness.
No, this is totally different. You can keep your clothes on for a start! Please, keep your clothes on. Personally I can work around most things, including jeans, but leggings or shorts would be better, FYI. Sports massage tends to focus on problem areas, relieving tension through stretching the muscle fibres and removing “knots”. But it’s great for injury prevention, flexibility and all sorts of other things. It gets your body into the same relaxed state, you’ll just pull some interesting faces along the way.
Sports massage, not just for athletes. Great, got it. So, who is it for? It’s for anyone and everyone. I have treated kids around 7 years old, I’ve treated crossfitters, I’ve treated little old ladies and everyone in between. People who have had their joints destroyed have found great relief from the gentle stretching and mobilisations. Whether you’ve got an injury or not, stretching and moving is good for you, athlete or elderly, you will benefit from moving your arms and legs about. Just sitting causes your body to tighten up, so if you work, watch TV, drive or do any other sort of general life activity, you will benefit.
You don’t do sport. Awesome. Doesn’t matter to me or other therapists. Comment below and tell me what your experience with sports massage is and how it has helped you.