Massages are not always about rest and relaxation. As sports massage grows in popularity, athletes and trainers are recognizing the benefits of massage for athletes.
Massage is becoming an important component of a well-rounded training regime designed to improve athletic performance. Unlike your stereotypical holiday-resort massage, the aim of sports massage is not to relax, but to focus on and work core muscle groups.
Massage therapy is perfect for athletes of all kinds, from experienced Olympians pushing the limits of the human body, to upcoming youth hockey prospects, to weekend runners. No matter the level you play at, massage can be personalized and customized to your unique requirements and goals. Different sports require the use of different massage techniques which focus on the parts of the body that are most used and abused by athletes in that particular sport.
Pre event massage
Sports massage was once used primarily as a post-workout or post-event technique to aid in recovery. Today it is being used with increasing frequency prior to events in order to loosen athletes physically and reduce mental stress – two areas which are crucial to performing at the highest level – in training or in competition.
Post event massage
After training or a sporting event a massage reduces muscle fatigue, prevents cramping, increases flexibility and improves endurance.
Specific benefits of sports massage include:
Muscle-tendon junctions - sport massage has a hugely positive impact on muscle tendon junctions which helps increase range of motion, and decrease the risk of pulling muscles, injuring tendons and suffering other related injuries. According to a study published in 2010 for the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, hip-flexor range of motion could be increased with massage in as little as 30 seconds.
Increasing blood flow - stroking movements will force fluids through tight muscles, and loosen them. This is vital because tight muscles can restrict blood flow and trap stiffness-causing lactic acid in the muscles. Getting more blood to your muscles means more oxygen, and more oxygen means that you can run faster, jump higher, and outperform the competition.
Stretching - unlike traditional stretching, massage stretches deep muscle tissue in all directions, releasing tensions or pressure that you would otherwise be unable to reach.
Breaking down scar tissue - many athletes have a significant amount of internal scar tissue. This tissue is less elastic than normal muscle and ligament tissue, and can be better stretched through massage.
Pain reduction - no pain, no gain! Almost every athlete has incurred some pain as a result of their sport. Whether you are a cyclist or a hockey player, pain happens. One of the primary causes of pain is tight muscles and cramping, both of which can be alleviated with massage which also releases pain fighting endorphins into your brain.
Stretching the fascia - the fascia is a sort of sheath that covers every muscle in your body. Stretching the fascia makes you more flexible, reduces muscle pain, and even encourages muscle growth (since muscles will be less tightly restricted).
For athletes of all types (and even non-athletes), sports massage is the perfect addition to your existing training regime. It will prepare you physically and mentally to perform at the high level you demand from yourself. Book your sport massage appointment today to improve your performance and protect your body from injury.
TRX stands for Total Resistance eXercise. It is a form of suspension bodyweight training, meaning it uses your own bodyweight and gravity to build strength, increase balance and flexibility and deliver a full body, calorie-burning workout.
TRX was invented by Randy Hetrick, a former US Navy Seal while deployed to South East Asia in the 1990s. Hetrick’s used his first prototypes to keep himself in shape with limited equipment, but quickly realised the potential of what he had invented.
After leaving the military in 2001, Hetrick graduated from Stanford University. In 2005 TRX launched in San Francisco and has since rapidly spread across North America and the world. Both the equipment and the workouts are designed based on research compiled by sports specialists, the military, academic sources, professional athletes, and the TRX team.
Who uses TRX?
The US Marine Corp adopted a specially designed version of TRX branded TRX FORCE in 2008 and today all four branches of the US military use TRX in their regular training. In 2009 Drew Beers, an NFL quarterback and long-time TRX user became an official partner. Major League Baseball Teams, UFC fighters, and Olympic cyclists, swimmers, runners and representatives from all professional sports use TRX.
TRX is often described as functional training because it focuses on bodyweight exercises, building core strength and stability rather than other workouts that focus more on bulky muscle mass. TRX is perfect for people who don’t want to sacrifice speed or endurance for strength.
Yoga, Pilates and TRX
If you are a fan of Yoga and Pilates then you will probably like TRX. At first it may be hard to see the similarities between yoga (based on a tradition dating back thousands of years) and military-based TRX, but the two have more in common than you might imagine. Like Pilates and yoga, TRX builds core strength. Every movement engages your core, even if you are primarily targeting other muscles.
What are the benefits of TRX?
TRX has many benefits for athletes of all levels, and for non-athletes that want to:
Combine TRX with your normal routine
If you don’t currently have a workout routine, then TRX might be right for you. It is highly adjustable, you simply have to change the position or angle of your body to increase or decrease resistance. You can choose to take TRX classes (recommended for beginners) or to buy your own TRX Suspension Trainer which can be set up almost anywhere.
If you already have an exercise routine then adding TRX will kick it up to the next level. Add TRX to your yoga or Pilates routine to kick your core workout up a notch, add it to cardio training to build lean muscle and prevent injuries. If you are focused on weightlifting then TRX can give you the mobility, and cardio you need to burn fat, and build endurance and speed.
Thousands of Canadians are coping with pain and finding relief with IMS. It is a safe, proven treatment that targets myofascial pain without the use of dangerous or addictive drugs. If you suffer from chronic pain, consider IMS treatment.
What is IMS?
IMS, otherwise known as Intramuscular Stimulation, effectively diagnoses and treats myofascial pain (chronic pain in the musculoskeletal system), using needles. It is similar to acupuncture, in some regards, but very different in others.
Dr. Chan Gunn developed IMS in British Colombia while working for the Workers Compensation Board of British Colombia. IMS is based on Western medical knowledge, particularly the radiculopathy pain model. For his work Dr. Chan Gunn was elected an Honorary Fellow of Peterhouse Cambridge University, as well as The Order of British Colombia and The Order of Canada.
How does IMS work?
IMS uses some tools and techniques borrowed from acupuncture – specifically the insertion of ultra-thin needles through the epidermis and into muscle tissue. Most patients find the insertion of needles to be relatively painless, and many even claim that they can’t feel them at all. A small minority sometime experience a stiffness in the muscle around the insertion site, but this is normal and is usually quickly followed by relief.
IMS treats myofascial pain, which is chronic pain occurring despite no obvious sign of damage. Patients should first be examined by a medical professional, to rule out other possible causes of pain. Unfortunately, because myofascial pain is neurological, it is completely undetectable by MRIs, CT scans, or X-rays. Once other causes of pain are ruled out, IMS may be the best treatment available.
Myofascial pain can be relieved by alleviating muscle shortening which compresses or inflames nerves – resulting in pain. IMS works by targeting the muscles, releasing the pressure and, by doing so, reducing nerve irritation.
To do so IMS uses a procedure often described as “dry needling” (dry because no medicine, painkillers or other substances coat the needle, nor are any medications injected into the body). ‘Needling’ the target muscle stimulates three physiological processes:
1) IMS relaxes and lengthens the muscles through the stretch receptor in the muscle
2) IMS triggers an electrical response in the muscle stimulating the nerve
3) IMS creates micro injuries which stimulate blood flow and trigger healing processes deep in the muscle.
IMS does not simply cover up pain, but actively treats the causes of pain. It may take multiple sessions to fully treat a pain site, because IMS is a cumulative treatment. Every time the nerve is stimulated the muscles relax and micro injuries heal, making the treatment more effective over time.
If you are suffering from chronic pain, then IMS could be the treatment that you need. Prior to undergoing IMS you need to have a medical examination and diagnosis from a trained practitioner.
Yoga classes are a great way to improve your physical and mental health. Some of the more elaborate yoga poses may seem impossible to master at first, but if you attend yoga classes regularly you’ll be surprised how quickly you will master them.
Sometimes life gets in the way of our yoga practice, but fortunately you can still enjoy the benefits of yoga by incorporating yoga principles into your everyday life.
If you love yoga then you’re probably already familiar with the many physical benefits, including:
Yoga at home
Regularly attending classes is the key to reaping the benefits of yoga, but you can also improve your wellbeing by practicing yoga at home. If you’ve never done yoga before then you should first consult your doctors and attend a yoga class. If you have some experience, talk to your yoga instructor and ask for some pointers about practicing at home, but these simple techniques should work as a great starting point.
1. Morning sun salutation
Mornings are hectic, but they don’t have to be. Morning sun salutations are the perfect way to start your day. Welcome the new day and the morning sun with this simple morning ritual:
2. Breathing techniques
If you are stressed out, or just want to improve your wellbeing, practice yoga breathing techniques. Whether at home, at the office or even while driving, taking a few minutes to practice your breathing will help you focus your heartrate, calm down and concentrate.
3. Stretch at the office
You don’t need a yoga mat to stretch. Try side stretches, backbends, the cow face pose or seated twists to relax your muscles and your mind while sitting at your desk.
4. Practice Santosha
Yoga isn’t just about stretching. Try sitting for one to three minutes at a time focussing on all the things you are grateful for in your life.
5. Five minute meditation
Take five minutes out of your day to practice meditation. There are many techniques you can use, but the simplest is simply to concentrate on your breathing, on a candle or a simple mantra.
6. Yoga on your lunch break
Use your lunch break to sneak in a quick yoga session. You’ll come back rejuvenated for the second half of your day!
Golf is one of the world’s most popular sports, played by young and old around the world. While it may not be the most fast-paced game, it requires complex movements, precision, skill, and consistency.
If you want to up your golf game then picking the right club is important, but picking the right program off the green is just as critical. Seeing a physiotherapist might be exactly what you need to take your game to the next level.
The golf swing
A well executed golf swing is one if the most sublime sights to any fan of the game. The ‘whoosh’ of the club, and the ‘ping’ of the ball are one-of-a-kind sounds. But the golf swing is also a complex movement involving coordination, strength, flexibility, and concentration. It requires serious output and flexibility by the pectoralis major (chest), latissimus dorsi (back), abdominals, forearms, and of course your gluteus maximus.
A great swing relies on a huge amount of torsion generated by your core. Which is why strengthening, loosening, and protecting your core is crucial to preserving and perfecting your golf swing. Physiotherapists know how to safely and effectively target the muscles that propel your golf game.
If you are suffering from any tightness, pain, or injury then visiting a physiotherapist is a no brainer. A registered physiotherapist will develop a personalized treatment program for you, which could include a combination of massage, exercise and even acupuncture to help you stay healthy and consistent on and off the course. You’ll be able to keep your head in the game without worrying about reinjuring yourself.
There is no reason to wait until something goes wrong before getting physiotherapy. Rather than enduring back pain, sore muscles, or chronic pain, begin physiotherapy before you injure yourself.
It may seem counter intuitive at first, but realize that pre-emptive physiotherapy is becoming more and more common. You take your car in for regular maintenance, so why not afford your body the same protection with preventative care? Build the flexibility, strength and stamina that your golf game needs with the help of your physiotherapist.
Physiotherapists versus personal trainers
There are many excellent, highly qualified personal trainers in Ontario but unlike physiotherapists, there is no centralized body regulating personal trainers. So while many are highly qualified, some are underqualified – sometimes dangerously so. Visiting a personal trainer who doesn’t hold the right credentials means you are putting your health, physical wellbeing, and your golf swing into the hands of an amateur.
Unlike personal trainers, physiotherapists are highly educated, specially trained, regulated and licenced. They understand how your body works, and how to keep it working at the highest level. Physiotherapists will guide you and motivate you through recovery, or through a comprehensive preventative physiotherapy plan designed to meet your goals.
Physio for all ages (but some more than others)
Physio can help golfers of all ages improve their game. This is especially true when it comes to older golfers, looking to stay in shape. For many avid golfers, retirement means being able to enjoy the greens on a daily basis – but golfing more regularly can cause physical strain. Older golfers are at greater risk of injury, which could mean you miss part or all of the season. Talk to your physiotherapist about how you can improve your golf game and condition your body so that you can stay on the course longer.