Sports Therapy – the lowdown

Not quite sure what Sports therapy or therapeutic massage involves and what to expect?  Sports Therapy or   Here is a quick guide about what to expect on your first visit.

What is Sports Therapy or Therapeutic Massage?

First of all sports therapy isn’t just for athletes and athletes aren’t just the people you see on the TV advertising Quorn products.

Anna
Anna from Relax Therapies

On the other hand “massage therapist” doesn’t really explain what I do either. Yeah you will relax when you’re with me but it’s not all spa music and incense sticks either.

I am a qualified sports massage therapist which means that I can treat injuries and help relieve or manage chronic pain. I’ve spent years studying anatomy and human physiology so that you feel the benefits of the treatment long after you’ve left the room.

Consultation

Sounds formal doesn’t it?  Basically this is the chat we have about what’s going on for you.

I understand many clients are nervous when they first attend for massage therapy.  I know they might have seen other professionals and been fobbed off or found the treatment didn’t help. 

I promise to listen to your concerns and give you an honest opinion on what I can do to help you.  

For example not all pain can be “cured” but in my experience a lot can be done to help relieve and manage it.  As part of your treatment I will give you some suggestions for things you can do outside of our sessions to help relieve your pain.

Reason for coming

I will ask you about your pain.  Some of the things I might ask are

  • where is the pain?
  • what does it feel like (sharp, aching, burning)?
  • what makes it better or worse?
  • how severe it is?
  • does it affect your sleep or ability to go to work?
  • have you had it before?
  • how long have you had it?
  • have you tried other treatments for it?  Did they help?
  • have you seen a doctor or other professional?  Has it been diagnosed?

MEDICAL HISTORY AND SYMPTOMS

I ask about your health and medical history to check you can safely have massage therapy.  I also want to check I am the best person to help you and there is nothing that needs to be checked out by a doctor.  

There are very few reasons why you could not have a massage at all – I can usually modify treatments so they are safe even for people who are very unwell.

Work and hobbies/sports

I ask you about your job because this has a big impact on your risk of injury.  For example if you sit at a desk all day your injury risk profile will be very different to someone who does a lot of manual handling.  I also want to know a bit about what you like to do in your free time – if you play any sports or do any exercise at home for example.

Physical checks

Sometimes I ask you to stand so I can check your posture.  I might also ask you to do some simple exercises to check how well your body moves.  This gives me clues about what muscles might be tight and also gives a benchmark to check improvement.  I might also palpate (touch) the painful areas to check for excess tension in the muscles or differences in muscle size and tone.

Goals

Once I have an idea of what the issue is and understand a little about what might be causing it we can look into what your goals are.  For example:

  • Do you want to get back into running? 
  • Get rid of that twinge in your back?
  • Be able to do all your normal activities like putting your socks on without pain?
  • Together we can decide a realistic goal and put together a plan of action. 

treatment

After the consultation I will explain what I have picked up and suggest a plan of action for that session.  Some of the treatments I can use include

  •  deep tissue massage techniques
  • dry needling (inserting acupuncture needles into tight muscles)
  • assisted movement – I might move your joints through their full range of movement to stretch out muscles and free up tension

I will let you know what areas of the body I will massage and what to expect (tip sometimes I might massage areas that you don’t expect – for example quite often in lower back pain the muscles in the back of the leg are tight).  Don’t worry I won’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with.

“I was nervous before my first sports massage but Anna was immediately reassuring in the way she welcomed me, explained what it would involve, and took the time to understand exactly what I wanted and what I might need. The massage itself left my legs feeling much less tight and tired. I’ll definitely be incorporating regular appointments into my running routine from now on!”

Review from Mel H on Facebook

What to wear for massage

Once we’ve decided a plan of action you pop behind a screen to get ready. The clothing you need to remove depends on what you have come for treatment for. But usually for a back massage if you wear pants with a loose waist you can just take off your top. If you are having a leg massage you can bring shorts if you like. Or undress to your underwear. However you feel comfortable.

I give you a large towel to cover yourself with and I only expose the area of the body I am working on. You will never be left exposed on the table.

At the end of the treatment you will be offered a drink of water and can dress behind the screen.

home care plan

Once dressed I will give you some hints and tips to help you manage your pain going forward.

This is as important as the treatment itself because you could have the best massage in the world, but if you go back to doing whatever caused the pain – your pain will return.

Your home care plan could include:

  • exercises to do at home – these will be emailed to you with links to video tutorials of each exercise
  • tips on improving posture or safe manual handling
  • self help techniques such as foam rolling/stretches or hot and cold therapy
  • a plan to help you return to sport or work using graduated increases
  • advice on what to avoid
  • follow up sessions

I hope this has answered any questions or put to bed any fears you may have had around coming for a treatment.  If you are still nervous or have a specific question you would like to ask I would be happy to answer them contact me

At the time of writing (February 2021) I am temporarily closed due to lockdown.

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