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The Paradox of Sports Therapy

Massage has taken a bit of an evidence based hit over the past few years. New ethical guidelines through the GCP (Good Clinical Practise) are clamping down on common medical phrases associated with sports massage questioning whether they are as accurate as once believed. These days new evidence suggests that massage doesn't actually possess the powers to improve flexibility, break down knots / adhesions, reduce pain and most importantly... fix injuries. And despite many therapists still promoting the above as benefits of sports therapy, new evidence questions whether it works at all! To explain this in our best way possible, herewith our very own Paradox of Sports Therapy explained. 

Despite evidence questioning massage, how do you 'feel' after sports therapy?

There's no denying that a muscle is more likely to be vulnerable to injury if exposed to greater demands placed on it. As a result, the muscle will start to fatigue and possibly lead to 'feeling' tight and inflexible. 'Feeling' is a great word to use as we can only rely on how it 'feels' rather than what actually is going on under the surface. For these reasons, massage is under dispute based on what really is likely to be happening rather than what you 'think' is happening. Massage has been promoted to be the way to 'fix' injuries rather than being part of a consortium of approaches to help you back to functionality. This is why you're starting to find more physiotherapists providing strengthening drills over massage.

Something to think about!

Food for thought!

If we were to follow the evidence, a trip to 'getting your legs massaged' may become a thing of a past. Where does that place our clients who have 'relied' on massage therapy for years and have had great success from having it? How would you react if your therapist proposed an hours 'conditioning' in the matted area instead of your weekly massage treatment?

Same time next week?

Although strengthening is more likely to be the answer, visiting your therapist still pays dividends in the long run (no pun intended)

Mindful that evidence is only evidence until new evidence proves different, we rely on 15 years of experience promoting soft tissue work to help aid injury and recovery. There's no question that massage is a great way to help relax the patient and make them 'feel' supported through their injury cycle. If a muscle 'feels tight', we'll do our best to make it 'not feel tight' (we have the skills to do that). However if a muscle presents 'weak' that will be your job to take care of that by means of a strengthening / conditioning program. Exercise prescription (homework) is the main key to turning an injury around. We therefore always place the empowerment back to the client to ensure they follow a route to recovery.

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