Sports massage can work for you too – by Hilary Scott
Sports Massage. Don’t be misled by the name. You don’t need to be a top athlete to experience the benefits of this healing and revitalising treatment.
A Bridget Jones to the core, I find myself hobbling into Peebles Physiotherapy to be greeted by the warm and friendly Melanie Riley. Clutching my shoulder in excruciating pain, I tell Melanie that I injured it running.
Thinking, or rather hoping I might have got away with my sporting tale, she prods further when assessing me and I find myself spilling out the embarrassing truth, which is that I fell spectacularly in the “mum’s race” at the school sports day.
My face is now redder than those of my children when I saw them as I peeled my broken body off the ground. I’m not sure which was more bruised, my ego or my body.
A trip to Borders General Hospital and an X-ray revealed no broken bones. Armed with a prescription for strong painkillers, I left the hospital. But not before my story and made its way around the A&E department, and I could hear the doctors hooting with laughter!
The painkillers masked the pain, but I knew I had injured myself badly and needed professional help. I had heard of Melanie’s Riley’s Sports and Remedial Massage in Peebles, and made an appointment.
Following a thorough assessment it transpired I had damaged my rotator cuff…ouch! I was pleased to hear my shoulder injury could be successfully treated with massage and a number of exercises.
As I lay down ready for my massage I quickly realised I had many more problems than my running injury. With Mel working on my shoulder and back area, I felt an immediate sense of release from tension, and I wished I had caught on to the healing properties of sports massage a little earlier.
Forget the tranquil surroundings of a spa therapist rubbing oil on your back while you listen to the sounds of dolphins singing in the background, in a dimly-lit room glowing with candles. The next 30 minutes were what I can only describe as a mixture of pleasure and pain, as Melanie, now dubbed “Miracle Mel”, worked her magic, warming up the muscle and physically stretching out the connective tissue.
I always thought sports massage was just for athletes, and although many sports people love it, the rest of us can benefit from it too. Sitting at a desk for eight hours a day can bring a lot of postural problems.
“Massage is used by people for various reasons”, explained Mel. “Some to relax and unwind, others have a regular massage to help manage specific physical or even mental issues.
“Aspiring and professional athletes have a massage before and after training and competing, to stay in the best condition and aid recovery. And research is showing that massage can have a good effect in helping chronic conditions, such as lower back pain.”
Following my massage, Mel gives me some exercises to do to aid recovery, and my injury is now a distant memory.
I leave her clinic vowing two things.
One – never to dismiss the idea of a sports massage, so I book my next appointment. And two – never to run in the “mum’s race” at sports day again!