Football – Sports Massage
Massage sessions for a hamstring strain will always start with effleurage exercises; these will help to warm up the muscles and increase circulation. This will involve gentle stroking movements around the affected muscle. Movements should always go upwards towards the heart in order to keep to the direction of blood flow. Following this, petrissage or kneading techniques will be used to loosen the muscle; these exercises usually last for about 5 minutes. After this, more intensive movements will be made using the friction and stripping methods; these methods use touch to feel the muscle and apply pressure to the affected muscle.
Benefits of massage for hamstring strains
Massage helps hamstring strains to heal by loosening the injured muscle and increasing circulation.
Muscle and joint imbalance
Most footballers use one foot much more often than the other; this often leads to greater muscle strength in the preferred leg which can contribute to problems with balance, posture and movement. Massage can help to improve the range of movement in the joints and loosen muscles which can increase flexibility; this will reduce imbalances and decrease the likelihood of suffering an injury.
Groin strains are extremely common in football and usually result from a sudden change of direction or reaching for a pass. Massage can help to release tension in the surrounding muscles and increase blood flow to the area; this will speed up the healing process. Massage should be carried out once the acute symptoms have worn off.
Prevention of injury
Massage is not just used by footballers to speed up the recovery process following an injury; it is increasingly used as a preventive measure. Sports massage increases circulation and muscle tone, which enables the joints and muscles to move freely; massage reduces tension in the muscles and encourages recovery. Effective recovery time and a conditioned body both prevent injury occurring in subsequent exercise sessions.