Sports Massage Therapy in Norwich

Sports Massage for aches & pains

Don’t let the name mislead you. Sports massage should really be referred to as ‘Soft Tissue Therapy’. 

Although it was originally developed to improve performance and treat sporting injuries, ultimately, Sports massage aims to combat the negative effects of repetitive actions and movements.

These repetitions can lead to muscular imbalances or lead to aches, pains, tension and injuries. 

Sports Massage is therefore advantageous to anyone whose daily routine involves repetitive activities. For example desk-based work and driving.

Sports Massage for injury prevention

If you exercise regularly or intensely, Sports massage will help you recover better. It will also reduce risk of injury and improving performance.

Sports massage isn’t just for the athletic. If you are suffering from muscular aches and pains, or simply feeling stressed and overwhelmed – get in contact to discuss how you can benefit from massage therapy.

Please note: Sports Massage appointments do not include any formal consultations, assessments or exercise plans. 

If you are suffering from an injury, pain or condition, please see Sports Therapy instead. 

Cupping Therapy

In addition to Sports Massage techniques, I also utilise Cupping Therapy in treatments. Cupping Therapy originates from traditional Chinese medicine. Whilst the traditional method focuses on balancing energy (Qi) in the body, modern approaches focus on treating the musculoskeletal system.

Cupping Therapy is used to encourage oxygen and blood flow into the muscles which reduces tension in the muscles and promotes healing in damaged tissues. It has also been found to have a strong anti-inflammatory response.

Traditionally, a flame is used to create a vacuum effect however a more modern approach (Dry Cupping) is to use a vacuum pump. The benefit of this variation is that the amount of suction can be monitored and controlled in line with the client’s feedback.

Cupping Therapy works well as a combination therapy as well as a stand alone treatment. By encouraging blood flow to the soft tissues, Cupping is a great way to treat injuries and tissue dysfunction.

Dry Needling

In addition to Cupping Therapy, I can also use Dry needling. (Needling will not be used without your consent). Dry Needling is sometimes referred to as trigger-point needling as well as medical acupuncture.  

During dry needling, an acupuncture needle is inserted into the skin/muscle with the intention of treating myofascial trigger points and muscle tension. 

Sports massage is a form of massage which is used by athletes, recreational exercisers and the general public, to help prevent and treat musculoskeletal injuries.

Sports massage helps to keep muscles supple and joints mobile. This in turn can improve posture, flexibility and sporting performance.

The name can be misleading as Sports massage is not just for the athletic. The treatment you will recieve is better described as Soft Tissue Therapy. By manipulating the soft tissues, Sports Massage can prevent and improve overuse injuries as well as niggling aches and pains that are affecting exercise and every day activities.

  • Injury prevention/rehabilitation
  • Improved sporting performance
  • Reduction of headaches
  • Reduced aches and pains
  • Relaxation
  • Stress reduction
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Improved circulation
  • Shoulder pain e.g. Frozen Shoulder/ Rotator Cuff injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Muscular Strains
  • Ligament Sprains
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Tension headaches
  • Muscular imbalances
  • Poor posture
  • Chronic back pain/injuries
  • General aches and pains

Sports massage aims to combat the negative effects of repetitive actions and movements. These repetitions can lead to muscular imbalances, which in turn lead to aches, pains,  tension and injuries. It is therefore especially advantageous to anyone whose work routine involves repetitive activities e.g desk-based work and driving.

If you exercise regularly or intensely, Sports massage will help you recover better as well as reducing risk of injury and improving performance.

Sports massage is also great for parents who ache from carrying their children around all day.

Every client will have a different experience and your experience will be based on your reason for getting a massage.

 

Maintenance Massage

This is a more common treatment for sports massage clients who have some tension or muscular aches from exercise/daily activities but no sign of injury or pain.

A maintenance massage will consist mostly of a Deep Tissue Massage. During a Deep Tissue Massage, the techniques used will be similar to the sort of massage you would receive in a spa but with a firmer pressure and more attention paid to those knots and niggles (rather than skimming past them) – this part may be uncomfortable but shouldn’t be painful.

Pre-event & Post-event Sports Massage

A pre-event massage is used to stimulate and warm the muscles before physical activity where-as a post-event sports massage helps to reduce post-exercise soreness, improve blood flow and re–establish a full range of motion.

Soft Tissue Therapy

In addition to Swedish and Deep Tissue massage, there are many other soft tissue therapy techniques that may be used during your treatment.

This will depend on your specific requirements and may include:

Soft Tissue Mobilisation Techniques

Soft tissue mobilisation techniques focus on the manual manipulation of soft tissues. The main aim is to increase ROM often caused by adhesions.

Adhesions refer to abnormal adherence of soft tissue to surrounding structures. Adhesions can restrict normal movement and elasticity in affected structures and can occur through injury/trauma or under/over use.

Soft Tissue Release (active & passive)

Soft tissue release involves mobilisation of joints to stretch or mobilise a muscle (or specific area of it). The treated muscle is placed in a shortened position whilst the therapist applies direct pressure to restricted tissues. The closest joint is then moved through full ROM to create a stretch.  

Connective Tissue Massage (Myofascial release)

Connective tissue release focuses on treating the body as a whole rather than focusing on specific areas and aims to stretch the connective tissues. The point of stretch is held until an increase in tissue mobility is felt. Pressure applied with connective tissue massage is referred to as myofascial release.

Neuromuscular Techniques

Neuromuscular techniques are used during sports massage to affect the body’s stress sequence. These techniques aim to calm hyperirritability and reactivity of neurological components, enhancing flexibility and movement patterns.  

Trigger Point (TP) Therapy

A trigger point is a hyperirritable area in the muscle that can cause muscle weakness and reduced ROM. This results in sensory receptors being ‘over excited’ causing local/referred pain to be perceived.

The cause can be from postural imbalances leading to compensatory movement patterns, as well as overuse of muscles.

TP technique aims to deactivate the trigger point through application of direct pressure to the affected area. This temporarily starves the area of oxygen to reduce muscle spasm.  

Muscle Energy Techniques

Another form of neuromuscular techniques is Muscle Energy Technique (MET). This consists of assisted stretching aiming to lengthen a muscle that is limited by neurological restrictions.

There are two methods of application for MET; Post -isometric relaxation (PIR) and Reciprocal Inhibition (RI). Both methods involve isometric contraction. During PIR, the muscle being stretched is contracted whereas during RI, the opposite muscle to the one being stretched is contracted.  

With a genuine passion for helping others, I am able to quickly build trust and confidence with my clients which is imperative for the success of a treatment.

Having suffered two musculoskeletal injuries which had a significant impact on my overall health, I am able to empathise with my clients and provide realistic treatment plans and aftercare advice.  

I also understand that regular treatments can be expensive, so ensure that my rates remain competitive as well as offering regular savings and discounts to my clients in Norwich.

During your first appointment, I will conduct a range of assessments to establish a treatment plan, followed by applying a range of sports massage techniques and concluding with an ongoing treatment plan. 

You should allow an additional 15 minutes on top of your first appointment to allow for a consultation.

Follow up sessions will be shorter and focused around the given treatment plan.

If you are receiving sports massage for maintenance and injury prevention, I would recommend returning every 3-6 weeks (dependent on exercise intensity and frequency).

If you are receiving treatment for specific aches, pains, injuries or imbalances, I would recommend returning every 1-2 weeks initially for the first 4-8 weeks.

Cupping Therapy originates from traditional chinese medicine. Whilst the traditional method focuses on balancing energy (Qi) in the body, modern approaches focus on treating the musculoskeletal system.

Cupping Therapy is used to encourage oxygen and blood flow into the muscles which reduces tension in the muscles and promotes healing in damaged tissues.It has also been found to have a strong anti-inflammatory response.

Traditionally, a flame is used to create a vacuum effect however a more modern approach (Dry Cupping) is to use a vacuum pump. The benefit of this variation is that the amount of suction can be monitored and controlled in line with the client’s feedback.

  • Stretching tight fascia and muscles
  • Increased blood flow and circulation
  • Stimulating healing
  • Aiding pain management  
  • Reducing swelling/inflammation
  • Shoulder pain e.g. Frozen Shoulder/ Rotator Cuff injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Muscular Strains
  • Ligament Sprains
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Tension headaches
  • Muscular imbalances
  • Poor posture
  • Chronic back pain/injuries
  • General aches and pains

Anyone who has an injury, aches/pains, muscular tension or a sedentary lifestyle/occupation (e.g. desk job).

Through inactivity (e.g. sitting at a desk all day), the blood supply to the tissue decreases resulting in the fascia becoming knotted. This further limits movement. Cupping Therapy can reduce these effects by increasing blood supply to the fascia, muscle and skin and therefore increasing pliability of soft tissues.

*Cupping Therapy is not suitable for anyone on blood thinners or who has received or is receiving lymphatic cancer treatment or surgery.

Cupping is generally painless. Similar to sports massage it can be uncomfortable at times and certain areas may be more sensitive however the body very quickly adapts to the treatment. Often clients will find a certain area uncomfortable then a minute later as the muscle relaxes, they do not notice that the cups are even there. 

If a client is in pain/highly stressed, this is where cupping has an advantage over massage. During a massage, in this scenario, the client will often fight against the treatment. Deep pressure will result in the client holding their breath and tensing their muscles (which has the opposite effect to what the intention is). Cupping is an upward pressure rather than downward which many people find much more comfortable.

upping draws blood to the external capillaries of the body and as a result, circular marks may be visible after treatment (or sliding marks depending on the method used). The colour of these marks will vary per person from light red/orange to brown or dark red/purple. Although these marks can look like bruises, they are not the same as a bruise and will be painless.

The marks can last anywhere from a few hours to 2 weeks. As these marks start to clear, the client will further feel the benefits of the treatment.

The method I use at OH Sports Therapy is Dry Cupping using vacuum cups. When the cup is applied to the skin, the vacuum pulls stagnant blood from the area and encourages fresh blood into this area. This presents as large circular marks.

As fresh blood is forced into the area being treated, neovascularisation (new blood vessel formation) occurs. This results in an increase of oxygen and nutrients being fed to the tissues.

Another effect of cupping is sterile inflammation. The vacuum effect of the cups creates separation of the tissue layers (microtrauma) which encourages the body to release white blood cells, platelets etc to promote healing (sterile inflammation).

Cupping also produces a stretch reflex which reduces muscular tension and improves mobility.

Dry needling is sometimes referred to as acupuncture however it is not the same (despite similarities). 

Both utilise thin needles inserted into the skin with the intention of treating pain.  

Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or “life force”, flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced “chee”). Practitioners who use acupuncture in the traditional way believe that when Qi does not flow freely through the body, this can cause illness. They also believe acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health.

Western medical acupuncture is the use of acupuncture following a medical diagnosis. It involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles.

This results in the body producing natural substances, such as pain-relieving endorphins. It’s likely that these naturally released substances are responsible for the beneficial effects experienced with acupuncture.

Dry Needling is a modern treatment designed to ease muscular pain.

References: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acupuncture/

https://www.healthline.com/health/dry-needling-vs-acupuncture#acupuncture

Insertion of the needle is typically painless, however pain can be possible in clients with high sensitivity levels. 

Once the needle is inserted there is possibility of some pain/discomfort. However this can be managed through effective communication with your therapist. 

After treatment muscular soreness can occur within the first 24hrs. 

It is not recommended that you receive dry needling as a treatment method if you have a needle phobia. 

  • May trigger a ‘local twitch response’ (involuntary spinal cord reflex) which can reduce pain signals.
  • The needle may cause a small lesion which stimulates healing in damaged tissues.
  • Can help muscles return to their resting length.
  • May trigger tissue remodelling.

The following are the known (based on research evidence) possible adverse effects associated with acupuncture, your therapist will discuss these with you and explain if you are at any enhanced risk.

  • Bleeding and Bruising
  • Mild aggravation of symptoms
  • Mild pain at the needle site
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Pain not at needle site
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Stuck or bent needle
  • Headache
  • Allergy or infection

Extremely rare (emergency) effects:   

  • Broken needle
  • Pneumothorax (0.0002% less than 2 per 1 million)