MYTH #1 - SPORTS MASSAGE IS FOR ATHLETES ONLY
This myth has probably come from the relatively unfortunate naming of this type of massage, as it automatically makes people think that it is for people who do sports. It is not. Sports and Remedial massage uses a number of different techniques, which can then be mixed and matched to the individual's needs and circumstances to effect the change both the client and the patient wants to achieve.
Call it sports massage, remedial or deep tissue massage, they all aim to fix the problem. Due to our daily routines, our postures are changing (mostly to worse). Add to that a quickened and short-changed diet and it is no wonder that we end up tired and aching, even without having done any exercise all day.
The basic problem
The body is a fascinating and extremely clever thing - it constantly wants to please you, and (unnoticed) helps you to hold those static positions we choose to maintain for hours on end each day, by shortening the muscles. That means you no longer need to contract certain muscles as the shortened muscle will anchor point A to B without having to work. Isn't that easier? it probably says. The more time you spend slouching forward, working away on your computer, the more the muscle wants to help by shortening. And then when you want to resume the original posture or do any movement that would require the full length of the muscle, you will start feeling the tightness. But even then, the body will cleverly guide you into a slightly adjusted posture to mask the issue, and thereby recruiting muscles to do the work of the other (shortened) one. It works as a domino effect, but eventually the body will run out of alternatives and it will most likely start causing discomfort or even pain. Lower back pain, neck pain (the 'I-can't-turn-to-the-left-today syndrome), sore shoulders or wrists, any other RSI should not be a part of life. Sports & remedial massage can work wonders in these cases.
And of course it is also extremely beneficial for those doing sports and wanting to prevent injuries, optimise their performance or rehabilitate themselves the right way out of an injury or surgery. (More on this in another post later this month.)
So no matter who you are, how much activity you have done, sports & remedial massage can be of great benefit to you. The aim of any session is to treat the problem, probvide you some options on how to change the cause of those ailments and certainly work within your pain tolerance level.
MYTH #2: SPORTS MASSAGE HAS TO HURT, OTHERWISE IT IS NOT WORKING
There may be situations when the 'no pain, no gain' mantra is appropriate, but massage is not one of them. If you inflict intolerable pain on someone, their body will answer by contracting all the muscles to act as a shield to protect their body against the external impact. In a massage set up, this would just mean that the therapist can no longer get to the area nor the layer of the soft tissue that is the problem, and any attempts will just be even more painful for the patient and not effective overall. Try palpating your calf, whilst sitting on a chair, not putting any weight on it. Now flex the calf and try palpating again. Can you feel the difference? Also, does it hurt more to try to sink the pads of your fingers into the same level as you did before?
Much more change is allowed to happen in the soft tissue, if the treatment is gentle. The treatment can still be working with deeper layers of the tissue, but if it can be done without you tensing up, all the better.
Of course there may be some discomfort during the session, but you should never have to endure pain that makes you curl your toes in agony. If it gets close, it is important to let your therapist know as there are many different techniques we could use to get to the same outcome.
Do you have any myths about sports massage that needs addressing?