Getting Summer Ready With A Massage? Don't Mind If We Do!

Call us slaves to the warmer weather, we are certainly rejoicing at the fact that we are waking up with more frequency to sunny skies and the prospect of taking our physical activity outdoors. However, here at MO+ we’re taking a minute to think about what we need to do to ensure we stay injury free before cycling around Centennial Park, diving into Bronte Baths (we know, we know – diving at Bronte Baths is a no-no) or upping our heart rate with that early AM jog from Bondi to Coogee. 

We took five with our resident Remedial & Sports Massage Therapist, Lukas Vojnar, to discuss staying injury free and how various massage techniques can work seamlessly into your Spring Clean as you rebuild that bod’ in time for long days spent sprawled on the grassy knoll at North Bondi.

The good news according to Lukas? Even if you have been inactive for some time (i.e. favouring Netflix on the couch over the treadmill), no matter your age or health status, there is most certainly exercise you can engage in to feel the benefits of physical activity.

So, let’s start with a little body TLC via our quick ELR approach. Read on for Lukas’ tips to easing your way back into exercise. 

Take it easy.
“If you haven’t worked out for some time, it’s important to take it slow and be patient with your results. Your body has “muscle memory” - like riding a bike, even if you don’t do it for a while you will, after some time, adjust again. Trying to lift too much weight, forcing your body into a stretch or into a range of motion that it’s not ready for yet can result in micro trauma to the muscles – this can develop into more serious injuries later on.”

Listen to your body and don’t ignore pain.
“It’s really common with our busy schedules to just push through and ignore pain. It is not the right way to go about it. A pulled muscle can easily become a partly torn, and then a fully torn muscle, if we don’t take pain indicators seriously. With that in mind, you could be looking at 2 weeks of recovery for a Grade 1 injury (pulled muscle), right up to 9-12 months, which is a Grade 3 injury (a complete tear).”

“For everyone who is active, this is the most important part of how to stay healthy and feel good. A massage after vigorous exercise, without a doubt, feels good. However, more than that it reduces pain and help muscles recover, eases inflammation, improves blood flow and reduces muscle tightness. Vigorous exercise causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, leading to an immune reaction — INFLAMMATION — as the body gets to work repairing the injured cells. Getting a massage from a professional therapist is obviously more expensive than taking an aspirin, but massage can reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines the natural and healthy way.”

Lukas Vojnar MOplus

Ok, you had us at recovery. When you’re not putting in the blood, sweat and tears at the gym – and want to turn to someone else for support (that other person being your massage therapist), select a massage technique that best supports your health journey. We got the lowdown from Lukas on how different massage techniques can be the best support possible for a body working overtime.

Talk us through the key massage techniques you employ with your clients - how is sports massage different to remedial massage?
A sports massage shares some similarities to a remedial massage, but with a particular focus on areas of the body typically affected by a specific activity (for example, running, cycling, lifting or swimming). It's more specific to the muscle groups you use in your activity. In this way, the therapist involved has a wider technical and medical knowledge and will know how to properly apply the techniques needed. The therapist isn’t just doing a sequence for whole body, which is more common with remedial massage.

Are their different techniques used for sports massage?
Sports massage has a lot to do with soft tissue muscle manipulation and stretching. The main aim is to prevent sports injuries or, to improve existing injuries. A sport massage therapist works very deep, all the way through the muscle, whereas a remedial massage therapist will work only on the more outer layers of muscles. This particular pressure is still effective and perfect for a light stretch of stiff muscles and tension that has built up overtime.

Sport massage – best before or after sport?
Both! Sports massage is largely for athletes - people who train several days of the week or, who are highly competitive in their chosen sports. These people could make use of massage as part their warm-ups, reducing the chance of getting cramps or just to help them to relax and feel ready for sport a big game or event. After activity with increased blood flow, sports massage helps to reduce stiffens, swelling, bruising and breaks in the scar tissue.

What benefits can an athlete takeaway from sports massage?
The benefit of sports massage is that it can be used at any stage of healing. This is especially true if scarring is old. Old scaring can cause the rest of the muscles to compensate and, this in turn, can start to cause damage to the muscles. Massage therapy can help breakdown the scarring and help the muscles build up in the correct position. Massage also helps to stretch the muscles, giving them a workout to help build up resistance and strength. Sometimes the process can be slow, but continued treatment can enhance recovery and bring the individual back to their best physical health. The mental help that a massage can give to a person is also conducive to recovery, as relaxation helps to reduce stress often felt by someone who wants to get back to full fitness. Reducing this stress can help them to focus more on recovery.

For all your fitness gurus (and wannabe fitness gurus), this is your time to chat to the MO+ team about the style of massage that can a) assist with any muscular recovery you might need to address and b) get your body in the best possible physical state to once again pound the pavement from Bondi to Coogee (and beyond).