It goes without saying that Sports Therapy can help many people in a variety of situations. But it's really common to find that in general, the public don't know the difference between Sports Massage, and Sports Therapy, and why would they? I get asked all the time which session clients should book, and my answer is always the same, it depends on what your end goal is.
If a client comes in for a regular Sports Massage, it's normally because they have a hobby or work environment that takes it's toll and they're looking for some muscular relief from stiffness, aches and pains. The other common reasons can be age or lifestyle related, maybe an old injury that needs a little TLC on a semi regular basis or a previous surgery site that now has a little less movement than before. Sports massage can be appropriate in all of these scenarios.
When a client books for Sports Therapy, they're normally looking to unpick something a bit more complex. Maybe they're a young professional sportsperson and need to ensure that they're moving in the most efficient way possible, to avoid injury and ensure their longevity in the sport they've chosen. Many of the younger sportspeople I treat take part in sports that are very one sided, golf for example. Seasoned professionals have learned how to keep their body balanced, strong and stable with as much symmetry as possible. Younger players need more support in the area as by the time they come to me they're generally already in pain somewhere due to some asymmetry. I do have one young golf player who has a drive that would make you wonder where the hell they get that much power from on first glance. In order to generate that much drive, this player has an astounding amount of co-ordinated rotation. When they first came in, that rotation was coming from only their upper body, causing an overuse issue and muscle pain. Once we'd worked through how to rotate using their full body, their effort went down and their power went up. Muscle overuse sorted with some treatment and hey presto, no pain. This is a part of my job that I love.
Horse riders are another example of where Sports Therapy really comes into it's own. The riding side requires co-ordination, core stability, flexibility, and good muscle tone. The trouble is that keeping horses also requires a rider to poo pick fields endlessly, move heavy wheelbarrows around, carry water containers, load up with bales of bedding, hay, straw, feed, I mean crikey take your pick at which one of these daily tasks leaves a rider with a profound stiffness, asymmetry or overuse injury. Not to mention how many times they get trodden on, dragged through a gate, pushed into a wall or heaven forbid, actually part company with their horse whilst riding. That's without taking into account any asymmetry the horse might have. It's no wonder I see so many horse riders in clinic! This is where quite often, a Sports Massage just doesn't cut it. These guys often need a combination of treatment, stretches, and core stability exercises in order for their symptoms to improve. Some need a whole program, some just semi regular or regular appointments.
So if you're trying to decide if Sports Therapy is for you, ask yourself what your end goal is. Are you looking to manage something short term until the current situation changes, or unpick something for a longer term solution. Either way, I'm here to help, it's why I chose this profession. I can't imagine I'll ever stop wanting to help people, although I'll also likely apologise beforehand for the imminent lecture you may get about not looking after yourself or putting yourself first :)