Hello I’d like to introduce myself, I am Maria and I am the new Sports Massage Therapist here at Harris & Ross. I join this specialised team following my professional experiences with elite sports. In the past I have worked with Preston North End Football Club, Leigh Centurions Rugby League, InterFootball Academy and more recently Lymm Rugby Union and Wigan Warriors Rugby League. Adjacent to team sports I have also been lucky enough to work with extreme endurance athletes in the Ironman and Brathay 10 Marathons in 10 Days Challenge, which has allowed me to develop fine manual skills.
Why choose a sports massage over a regular massage?
Sports massage differs from regular massage as the Therapist manually mobilises the tissues using a much deeper approach. Knowledge and thorough understanding of the musculoskeletal, myofascial, lymphatic and neural systems is crucial in delivering the best possible preventative and rehabilitative soft tissue therapy.
How will ‘I’ benefit?
Professional athletes have a team of medical staff ensuring their body is in perfect condition. But this is just as important for those who aren’t necessarily sporting types, so that they can get the best out of their body – and their life.
The body can benefit physiologically, biomechanically and psychologically from monitoring its state.
Physical benefits (Physiological and Biomechanical)
Increases or change in training volume or type can cause niggles, spasms, pain and fatigue. These are symptoms indicative of an increase in muscle tension and tone in resting and contractile states. If left untreated, one ‘tight’ muscle can affect a whole muscle or kinetic chain. For example, tight Rectus Femoris (hip flexor) muscle can pull on the pelvis resulting in an anterior tilt. This then lengthens the Hamstring and Gluteal muscle groups. Erector Spinae, Lumbar Multifidus, Quadratus Lumborum and Psoas Major become tight as a result of the tilt, which pulls the lumbar spinal region into excessive extension (curve of the lower back). Transverse Abdominus is a crucial core stabilising muscle deep in the abdominal wall that then becomes inhibited by the altered posture.
Such diagnoses are extremely common in seated desk or driving jobs, and as a result of poor training techniques or progressions.
Tightened muscle fibres can affect bone alignment and even a person’s gait, as the body adapts to the new posture. Therefore, it is crucial to get seen by a Sports Massage Specialist as soon as a niggle occurs. Removal of metabolites and lactic acid through massage can allow muscles to receive the crucial oxygen and nutrients important for daily living and growth.
Mental benefits (Psychological)
Chemical hormones are also induced and released during massage; Dopamine, is a feel good hormone also relating to normal brain functioning; Seratonin, enhances mood state; Oxytocin, is known as the love or hug hormone. Whereas the hormones Epinephrine, Norepinephrine and Cortisol, which are related to stress and immunal and digestive disruption are all reduced.
So, if you are a professional or budding athlete or just a general hard- worker, it is crucial to look after your physical and mental well- being in order to bring about your peak possible performance. Fine tune your body! After all it is a machine.