We got a call from a competition surfer from Huntington Beach earlier this week, looking for sports massage therapy. He was practicing down at the Wedge in Newport Beach and managed to tweak a muscle in his lower back. After seeing some of the maneuvers these guys pull off, it’s easy to see how. Surfing is a demanding sport, with unique extremes. Calm, tranquil, and ‘laid-back’ one minute; rough, unpredictable, and physically demanding the next – often with little warning in between.
In addition, Surfers will spend long periods of time partially submerged in water that is substantially cooler than body temperature, which can lead to decreased blood circulation when there’s a crucial need for it – such as dropping in on a good wave. Another counter-intuitive factor is dehydration. It’s hard to think of an ocean as a desert, but that’s exactly what it is – an ocean of SALT water. With the blazing sun beating down and difficult access to drinkable water (AND the fact surfers are dripping wet which masks sweat), it’s way too easy for dehydration to go unnoticed.
Surfers know the importance of warm-ups and stretching, but are also famous for toughing-out their injuries. In this surfer’s case, a bad drop-in ended up in a strain of the quadratus lumborum (an important muscle in the lower back that helps twist the upper torso). The strain luckily wasn’t severe, but it was definitely tight. Sports massage therapy is generally not appropriate for application where a soft tissue injury is recent, Accordingly, he received a sports massage to help condition his non-injured muscles for future surfing, with a deep tissue/Swedish massage therapy modification to that quadratus lumborum to help reduce the swelling and restore range of motion.
One thing that amazes many of our clients is a massage therapist’s ability to ‘read’ the muscles of the body and find exactly where the strain is without much guidance from the client. Often times the massage therapist can see what areas of the body need careful attention merely by observing the way a client is standing, sitting, or lying. It’s also important to note that the therapist will only apply therapies that are comfortable for the client and appropriate for the condition.
During summertime activities, your muscles are working overtime under extreme conditions that can lead to aches, pains, and even serious injury from dehydration, muscle adhesions, and toxins stored within muscle tissue. To help avoid these summer fun-killers, start with the basics – hydrate before, during, and after physical activities. How does massage therapy fit in? Read on…
Tranquility Massage receives many calls from people who have injured themselves during casual physical efforts as well as extreme sporting – usually during colder weather when blood circulation is typically impaired. While massage therapy is ideal for preventing major muscular injuries, it may be too late after the injury has already occurred. One of the most important things you can do to prevent injury is to hydrate.
As you play hard, the cells in your muscles produce metabolic wastes that can accumulate in muscle tissue. Without sufficient water to flush away those wastes, they can accumulate within the muscle tissue itself, leading to decreased flexibility and range of motion – prime conditions for injury. To help prevent the accumulation of those wastes, drink water or your favorite sports drink (fortified with essential electrolytes such as sodium and potassium) at least 30 minutes prior to engaging in summer activities. Maintain your hydration level during your summer activity by continuing to drink to replace what you lose through metabolism and perspiration, and continue to drink afterward as your heart rate and body temperature return to normal. Always drink an amount you’re comfortable with – never more. Also, don’t forget to have a restroom nearby!
Massage therapy prior to intense physical activity actually increases flushing of these metabolic wastes from muscle tissue. The massage therapist will apply a number of massage therapies to various muscle groups that can help avoid the accumulation of these toxins. Typically, 60 to 90 minutes of full-body sports therapy massage is most beneficial for those that regularly engage in intense physical activity. However, as little as 30 minutes of deep tissue massage therapy can provide enough conditioning to be a benefit – particularly if the activity involves lots of walking and standing (think a day at a theme park).
So remember, if you’ve got a day of fun in the sun in your future, stay hydrated to help flush those toxins and keep your muscles ready for action! For the most efficient and effective (and convenient!) way to flush those toxins, give Tranquility Massage mobile massage therapists a call. We’re where you need us most!
Coming up next, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). How massage therapy can help…