How often should you have a sports massage?
Every month… every week? The real question is how deep are your pockets? At an average cost of £60 for 60 minutes, stretching ones fascia certainly isn’t cheap. It’s tempting to cast it off as an “unnecessary indulgence”. But if you are exercising regularly, it pays to invest.
“Not only will it reduce your risk of injury and improve your recovery time, but it will enable you to exercise more frequently, and make sure any little tweaks or niggles don’t turn into something bigger and nastier!” says Cheyne Voss, head of Physiotherapy at Ten Health and Fitness.
The group offers a “Prehab Block” that includes a 30 minute Body MOT, 10 classes and a 60 minute sports massage. A great option for those who want to build one into their monthly barre and Pilates routine.
As for the “indulgence” part, a sports massage doesn’t exactly count as pampering so there’s nothing to feel guilty about. The process of teasing out stubborn knots and pockets of tension isn’t comfortable. But if you find yourself clenching your teeth and crying out in agony, this might be a step too far…
“If you are crawling off the couch trying to get out from under the therapists elbows, then NO it should not feel like that”, says Peta McSharry from Sports Massage Zone. “When too much pressure is applied and causes undue pain, your natural response is to tense up. This means the therapist is now treating your voluntary muscle tension and not the problem area. Exit stage left and find someone who will care for your muscles as much as you do”.
So when is the “right time” to get one? In an interview with “Body Sense” magazine, massage therapist Ray Bishop explains that you should avoid strenuous exercise for “24 hours after”. This is because deep tissue massage may make your muscles more “gel-like.” When in this state, your muscles and connective tissue are at a greater risk for injury. They can also fall right back into the patterns that put you on the massage table in the first place.
Try to avoid running and heavy weightlifting and find gentler ways to move. A light walk, gentle lap swim or easy stretching may help relieve any post-massage discomfort. Bishop also recommends drinking plenty of water, up to 2 litres and a hot Epsom salt bath to speed up massage recovery.
If you are treating yourself to a massage for the first time before an event, McSharry advises that you give yourself “a few days” for your muscles to settle after the treatment.
If you’re looking for a sports massage therapist who goes beyond the usual mauling and pummelling to identify the psychological causes of any underlying niggles, then book a session with Jon Gee. Founder of City Sports Massage, Jon is also a psychotherapist, yoga teacher and mindfulness/meditation instructor whose sessions teach you how to let go of long-held physical and mental tension.