If you play a regular sport or train (exercise) regularly you may have body ache that you would like to get rid of. Stories about sports massage frequently relay the message that you experience intense pain during the session and for this reason, many who would benefit, avoid going.
Every sport uses a specific collection of muscles to a greater degree than others which may result in sport specific overuse or even injury. Sports massage by a therapist who understands the muscle relationships, will be able o make the muscles more flexible and thereby more functional.
If you experience pain during massage, your body will tighten to protect itself. This is a natural and almost unconscious response for most people. The trouble for sports individuals that we frequently believe that no pain no gain. This is total rubbish when you hit the wrong pain levels.
The goal of a sports massage is mobilise the soft tissue and muscle structures to increase their performance and reduce pain. If you are in pain during this time the muscles contract and continued pressure can bruise them.
On a scale of 1 to 10 where 5 is where you can feel pressure without pain. At 6 you should feel pressure and a good ‘healthy’ or ‘enjoyable’ level of discomfort in the stretch but the minute you move beyond this and your muscles tighten then stop and tell your therapist.
On, a separate but related matter, the subject of clothing (or the lack thereof) can make you so uncomfortable as to avoid going. Sports massage (99% of the time) needs you to be clothed and not undressed! How else could a therapist massage a tennis, rugby, cricket or any sports person during a match? So why should this be any different when you go for a sports massage at a SPA. If you become uncomfortable without your clothing on then your muscles tighten and you do not achieve the results, worse still you may even injure the very muscle you needed relief in.
The practical aspect is that there are certain stretches and positions that the therapist may need to put you in that would be inappropriate without clothing. If you are unsure ask the therapist if they are performing a massage or are they treating the specific muscles. If the answer is a massage with oil, you may want to tread carefully, as I suspect you may just be about to have a regular massage that has been called sports because the therapist intends just pushing harder!