Dilly Shore is one of our Massage Therapists. Here she shares why massage is so important and her top pre-massage tips:

‘In my opinion, deep tissue massage is remedial for everyone, whether you’re training for ultramarathons or a new mum in need of some TLC. Most people have a small niggle that they notice every now and again and massage is the perfect way to begin to address this. As most of us know, what starts as a small niggle can lead into something more painful and restrictive if we don’t catch it early. What I can do as a sports massage therapist is assess this, treat it hands-on and then give you some take home advice.

Massage is like fighting a fire – initial treatment is like throwing a big bucket of water on the flames but there are embers still burning and underlying pathology we need to address. By having massage regularly and following self-care advice, together we can make sure that the fire doesn’t start up again and begin to cause that pain and restriction. Massage is also excellent if you have had an injury and need some hands-on therapy to help with your recovery and get you back to fighting fit.

The benefits of sports massage include:
* More flexibility and muscle mobility. Areas of the body can tighten with activity, causing muscles to toughen and not stretch adequately. Massage improves muscle mobility, corrects any imbalances and releases accumulated areas of tension. Therapists can also help to stretch tight muscles making them more supple and a comfortable length.
* Helps with joint mobility. Techniques can be used to separate muscle fibres and help break down adhesions between muscle fibres, bone and surrounding soft tissue structures, leading to increased movement and less restriction.
* Increased flow of blood and nutrients to an area. Massage increases circulation to an area immediately and long after your massage. During your massage, blood vessels dilate and membrane pores widen, allowing for the passage of more oxygen and nutrients for the restoration of muscles. Softer, massaged muscles have an increased supply of nutrients to the area – improving their health and aiding healing and repair.
* Helps to eject metabolic waste. Blood and lymph flow throughout the body increases, helping to remove waste (e.g. lactic acid). This helps to prevent muscle fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness after physical activity, as well as assisting with overall recovery.
* Pain relief through stimulation of a concept called ‘Pain Gate’. By creating a massage stimulus, pain signals are unable to ‘fit’ through the ‘pain gate’ in the spinal chord. Reducing pain signals to the brain. Massage will also remove pressure built up from congestion of metabolic irritants.
* Promotion of relaxation through the release of endorphins. These help to reduce pain, anxiety and improve mood. It is also the perfect opportunity to take some time just for you.
* Boosted performance and sense of well-being. More oxygen to muscle tissues which are now supple, well-nourished and mobile, is going to lead to a higher quality and more sustainable level of activity plus pain-free every day life!

My top pre-massage tips
1. Arrive well hydrated – dehydration can stiffen the fascia and muscles which can translate into a more painful massage. Ensure you are sipping adequate amounts of H2O before arriving!
2. Avoid eating a big meal 2 hours before your massage. This can lead to discomfort lying down with a full belly, but also massage slows down bodily systems while we are at work. Overeating before a massage with a slowed down digestive system could lead you to feeling rubbish on the table!
3. Come prepared with your clothing. It’s my job as a massage therapist to make you feel as comfortable as possible during your massage, but if you are wanting a particular area looking at that needs to be exposed ie. Legs or upper back, please bring appropriate shorts/underwear that you feel comfortable wearing and ladies please wear a bra which you don’t mind me undoing/taking off to get to those sore areas! No worries if you forget on the day as we have spare shorts here and lots of towels!
4. If you play or compete in a specific sport, don’t neglect certain parts of your body. For example, a typical runner’s sports massage focuses on the legs but nobody has perfect form especially when you’re fatigued – leading to tightness and soreness in the upper body.
5. Be prepared to come in and talk about which body parts you want addressing. If you have a clearer idea of areas to focus on from the beginning, it means I can spend the maximum time providing treatment. Also be prepared that while a sports massage can work wonders, it goes further than your typical skin moisturizing massage! To therapeutically target the deeper tissues for more relief there can be some discomfort while I address any tension or soft tissue restrictions you may have. Don’t be put off by this – the best therapy occurs when you aren’t bracing against the therapist so while there is some discomfort, this shouldn’t necessarily be painful.
6. Be prepared to move around and interact physically with the therapist to get the best out of your massage. Whilst you are there to relax and take time for your self, you may be required to change positions and move limbs to facilitate a successful session.

Remember, IT IS YOUR BODY, YOUR SESSION, YOUR OUTCOME. Your massage is completely dictated by you in order for us both to get the best out of it! And just a reminder that post-massage soreness is completely normal. Tightness should reduce within 48 hours and you may even feel like you’re in a new body!’

Contact the Client Care Team to discuss the range of 45 and 60 minute massage plan packages available at Katie Bell Physiotherapy and Wellness. Email hello@katiebellphysio.com or call 0114 327 2080.