Massage therapy comes in many different varieties, however there are two fundamental forms, they are relaxation massage and rehabilitative massage. The first type is performed to relieve stress and of course help one to relax, the second type helps to assist your body with recovery from training and exercise.
What is massage therapy?
It is the manipulation of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue in the body.
How can it help?
- Promotes relaxation (both in the muscles and mind)
- Increases blood circulation
- Releases muscle tension and pain
- Increases flexibility
What are the different types of massage therapy?
- Sports massage (usually aimed at improving the speed of recovery as well as improving athletic performance)
- Swedish massage (the most common type of massage, generally associated with relaxation)
- Deep tissue (used on specific areas of the muscle that may be causing pain due to tightness.)
Is it painful?
Depending on the type of massage, as well as an individual’s pain threshold, a sports massage to release stubborn muscles could hurt a bit.
You can always tell the massuer to take it down a few notches if the massage is too painful. I remember in the sports recovery centre a few years back, there was an on going bet between the physios on 'who could make the most athletes cry during their massage session'. Some masseurs just take it too far, massage is meant to be relaxing as far as I’m concerned!
Massage is a useful tool to help aid in recovery, especially if you are training hard. Sport massage really helps when you want to keep pushing hard in your daily training sessions but are not quite recovering in time. However, it is only an aid and should not be used to substitute cooling down and stretching. (I can hear a few groans now).
If you would like to know more about massage therapy or would like to try it out, ask your trainer, they will be happy to assist, and push you in the right direction. If you don’t like your trainer, simply head on down to the IFC Physiotherapy Clinic on 39 Hong Kong Street and I am sure the lovely ladies (or Mark) will be happy to help you out.
Carl Jan De Vries