Here at Sports Lab, our massage therapists Ray Gesta and Luke McCallum like to treat things a little differently. I’m sure most clinics would say something similar, but let’s dive in to what massage is and what a massage at Sports Lab can offer you.
Treating The Cause
Let’s start off by saying that massage is something that impacts both local tissue and the whole body, systemically. You may experience pain in one area that’s cause is coming from somewhere else. It can even be another system altogether that is creating the dysfunction on your body. Our job is to continue to explore what the root cause is and how we can best manage it.
Massage therapy is working with the soft tissues within the body, meaning that we primarily look at the muscles and how they interact with each other. As your muscles are the levers that moves our hard frame (bones), looking at the relationship between your muscles is important when looking at the way you move for both range of motion and reducing the chance of tightness or injury.
An important element to a Sports Lab massage is an advanced movement screening. Movement screening is essential to getting an understanding of how the body moves and how this can lead to dysfunctional movement patterns or injury. Fundamentally, your brain likes to store movement in patterns (sequences), and so when it comes to correcting faulty movement, we must focus on improving the whole movement pattern rather than its standalone parts. While we can make arguments as to why just treating locally can help, to really get on top of an injury or prevent injury we need to make sure the whole musculoskeletal system works efficiently.
While looking biomechanically at how the relationship between muscles is important, we also take into account all factors that you bring to the table to get an understanding of how we can best work with you. Put simply, we don’t only focus on the mechanics of it all, we recognise that you, as a person, are vitally important too.
Often, we like to compartmentalise different stressors in our life, however in reality all these stressors impact our body in a fairly similar way. But when we look at what massage does, it can tell us why getting a massage can be an effective tool in helping de-stress the body.
Fundamentally when we look at what massage is, we are creating skin to skin contact with varying levels of pressure. This touch stimulates pressure senses within your skin and sends signals back to the brain via the vagus nerve. The brain, as a result slows down the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
But this also poses the question, how much is too much pressure. Ray talks about it here https://sportslab.net.nz/how-much-is-too-much-or-not-enough/
But to summarise, creating too much pressure can actually create a stress response, opposite to that of one we are trying to create by getting a massage, alongside causing increased muscle trauma locally. If we need to convince you further think about it like this, your body is very good at healing itself, but if you are injured your body is in a state where it is unable to heal as fast as it would normally, by putting another stressor onto the body, will that speed up the healing process, or just add another thing for the body to deal with?
Often there are numerous different reasons as to why you might want to get a massage, whether it is to get out of pain, manage a long term injury, stress management or injury prevention. Our team of massage therapists can work with you to figure out a plan, get in contact with the team to discuss this more.
Ray Gesta and Luke McCallum are the talented pair of Sports Lab massage therapists. Over the next few weeks of blogs you’ll learn a little more about some of their specific interests They have friendly banter in who’s the massage therapist with the best beard and the tallest stature.