Deep tissue/sports massage is the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of soft tissues of the body including muscles, tendons and ligaments. This specific massage employs techniques to work below the superficial connective tissue, breaking up old structural patterns and allowing free flow of nutrients and oxygen to the blood. Techniques are used to release chronic muscle tension, free trapped nerves, oxygenate poorly circulated areas and allow the spine and joints to relax in to alignment.
Deep tissue/sports massage tends to be deeper and more intense. It is based on the various elements of Swedish massage and often incorporates a combination of other techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, toning, and trigger point response techniques similar to Acupressure and Shiatsu. Massage tools, some of which include, hot stones, warm bamboo and the Wavestone® are part of the therapists toolkit which bring together a blend of techniques, knowledge and advice during treatment, to work effectively with the client to bring about optimum performance and to provide injury-free training and minimise post event injuries.
The massage therapist may also advise on stretching or strengthening exercises as appropriate to work in conjunction with treatment.
The prime purpose of deep tissue/sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. Above all, it can help prevent those niggling injuries that so often get in the way of performance and achievement, whether one is an athlete, ardent keep-fitter or a once a week jogger.
This treatment is not just for the sports person but to anybody wishing to guard against or recover from a soft tissue injury: including people in physically demanding jobs and those not quite so obvious (occupational, emotional and postural stress may produce many similar characteristics to sports injuries).
Deep tissue/sports massage is particularly effective in treating minor soft tissue problems, relieving niggling aches and pains before they develop into more serious overuse injuries. It is also great in the pre-event situation, whether your needs are for your relaxation or stimulation, and in post-event relaxation and recovery. Finally, it is good for the general relief of stress and tension and for fatigue, whether this is occupational, recreational or sporting!
What happens during a treatment?
Your treatment will commence with a consultation. During this time the nature of any problems you may be experiencing will be discussed and your individual requirements will be determined prior to commencing any physical treatment. Your consultation may also include, if appropriate, a full postural assessment and range of motion testing to determine the best course of treatment for you.
Once the nature of your problem has been determined, a treatment plan will be devised, ensuring this takes into account your lifestyle, leisure activities and general health. There will usually be a minimum of 30 minutes treatment on your first visit following on from the consultation.
It is advisable to bring a pair of shorts and vest (for ladies) to your consultation and follow-up appointments as you may be required to undress down to your underwear.
Children under 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult.
Soft Tissue Treatments
As well as massage, there are many other soft tissue treatment techniques that can be used during your treatment.
Dependant on the nature of your injury or issue, it will depend on which of the soft tissue treatments will be applied in order to gain the most benefit. The types of other treatments include:
Myofascial release – This hands-on technique seeks to free the body from the grip of tight fascia, or connective tissue, thus restoring normal alignment and function and reducing pain. Mild, sustained pressure is applied to gently stretch and soften the fascia.
Soft Tissue Release – This is a combination of stretching and pressure techniques applied to specific muscles where muscle fibres are congested or restricted.
Trigger Point Therapy – This is a technique that involves the application of pressure to tender muscle tissue in order to relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. Trigger points are areas of tenderness in a muscle.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) and Muscle Energy Technique (MET) – These are forms of flexibility treatments that involve both the stretching and contraction of the muscle group being targeted to help strengthen them and lengthen them, respectively.
Cryotherapy & Heat Therapy – Advice on the uses of cold and heat therapy in the treatment of your injury.