Injuries like sprains, strains, swelling, and fractures are quite common in contact sports, on the pitch, and even during practice. However, most of these injuries are usually quickly dealt with by medical teams on standby so that athletes don’t have to miss out on important games.
Unfortunately, these old injuries may not go away entirely and can come back to haunt you, aggravating new injuries or even limiting your daily activities.
In this piece, we’ll be looking at deep tissue massage as a way of treating chronic pain, stress, and discomfort from old injuries in athletes. Keep reading to learn more about deep tissue massage, including what it involves, how it’s done, and the benefits it poses.
What is Deep Tissue Massage?
While the actual origin of this massage technique is not known, it’s believed to have begun back in ancient Egypt with early uses in the US being traced back to the late 1800s.
It is a massage technique that involves applying pressure to specific areas through deep and slow strokes against the body. This massage targets your inner muscles and fascia, which is why it’s a standard treatment for musculoskeletal problems.
Usually, massage therapists use their palms and fingers to knead and manipulate tissues, but they may use the forearms and elbows to apply more intense pressure.
Who Should Get This Type of Massage?
Anyone can get this massage. However, it’s ideal for individuals who engage in intense physical activities like running, football, tennis, weightlifting, etc. It’s also suitable for anyone dealing with:
- Muscle injury
- Chronic neck, upper back, or low back pain
- Reduced mobility
- Muscle tension
- Tennis elbow
- Osteoarthritis pain
How Are Deep Tissue Massages Performed?
This massage can target the whole body or specific problematic areas. So, ideally, your massage therapist will first want to know more about your situation and problem.
Depending on the part your therapist will be working on, the procedure itself will require you to lie on either your stomach or back. You may undress fully and lie under a sheet or expose the area set to be massaged.
Next, your therapist will warm up and prepare your muscles with light strokes. Then, they will use all or a combination of fingertips, knuckles, elbows, hands, and forearms to apply deep pressure along your muscle fibers.
The entire process may take one to one and a half hours. It’s normal to feel mild soreness or stiffness for up to two days after the procedure.
5 Benefits You Can Get from This Massage as an Athlete
1. Fight Muscle Inflammation
As an athlete, intense exercises, which inevitably cause stress and trauma to your muscles, come as part of the package. Getting deep tissue massages as often needed can help reduce muscle inflammation, keeping your athletic body feeling great.
2. Alleviates Pain
Muscle inflammation is usually accompanied by pain. Sometimes, this pain is mild and tolerable. Other times it’s intense, uncomfortable, and hard to deal with. A massage targeting the deep layers of your muscles can help alleviate or at least make the pain manageable.
3. Improves Flexibility and Motion
If you’re an athlete, you already know that high flexibility and a better range of motion can significantly improve your performance and avoid injuries. Good flexibility can also reduce the time you need to recover from injuries. Regular massages, more so, of deep tissues, help improve blood flow, which in turn reduces muscle tension, stiffness, or soreness so that you can recover and get back in action quicker.
4. Promotes Body Relaxation
Another benefit of this type of massage is parasympathetic nervous system activation that triggers the body to relax and rest. This applies to not athletes, but everyone as well. Deep tissue massage will help your body fight and overcome chronic stress, improving your performance and overall health.
5. Reduced Risk of New Injuries
Not taking care of your body properly, including treating old injuries and muscle stress puts you at risk of sustaining further injury. Getting a deep tissue massage will improve your flexibility, reduce inflammation and promote body relaxation, ultimately helping you limit the risk of getting injured.
Feel Better Physically and Mentally with a Massage of the Deep Tissues
A deep tissue massage can not only relax your body but your mind as well. This massage is great if you’re dealing with an old injury, chronic pain, or intense muscle fatigue/ stress. The after-effects, which can include improved performance and mobility, are more than worth it and every athlete should add to their self-care routine.