When people hear the term sports therapy, it often confuses them. And that is an understandable reaction to have. The term itself seems like it should be clear enough, but leaves people scratching their heads. What is it really?
The medical field is a large one. There are hundreds of different avenues of medical care available, catering to the different needs of different people. And sports therapy is simply another one of these avenues.
There might be any number of reasons you need to look into sports therapy. Maybe you are an athlete looking for help. Perhaps you are opening up a medical spa and need more insight into this niche area. If that is the case our guide will take a look into what sports therapy is and why it is so important. A quick side note, for anyone looking to open a medical spa, this guide will not go into details about operations. For those interested, you can find help with marketing for a medical spa here.
What is it?
Sports therapy is, at first glance, exactly what it sounds like. It is a therapy based around sports. But this is quite a vague statement. So let us dive deeper. High-level athletes put a massive strain on their bodies daily. Whether this is in training or during a match. This strain on their bodies is significantly more than the average person experiences during normal healthy exercise. And it is because of this extra strain that athlete often requires greater physical recovery methods. And that is where sports therapy comes in.
The first big part of sports therapy is a sports massage. Sounds nice right? You would be wrong. A sports massage is one of the most painful and grueling massages you can ever get. Carried out not long after a match or intense workout, it is designed to remove all the intense knots and lactic acid build-up within the joints and muscles and stop cramps, tears, and stiffness. But this massage is intense. It requires moving the muscles and massages them with great, painful pressure to really get them to relax. Painful, but healthy. Without sports massages, athletes are much more likely to seriously injure themselves and cause irreversible damage to their muscles.
These massages are often followed by ice baths. These are designed to shock the body but also relax it. Ice is proven to reduce swelling and stimulate the body to work harder. That is why athletes take ice baths, it gets their blood flowing closer to the muscles and stimulates muscle repair while also help training lung capacity and reducing swelling.
Athletes get hurt. It is a sad truth about the world of sports. Injuries happen. And athletes need to recover from them properly. Physical therapy is a huge part of sports therapy. The athlete often has varied dietary requirements and needs and, as such, need specialized physical therapy regimes to aid in their recovery efforts. But it goes further than that.
Athletes are people just like us. And their job is stressful. There is a lot of pressure on them to play well and win. And losing can put a massive strain on their mental wellbeing and confidence. Not to mention dealing with the press and being under the public eye is strenuous as well. And internal conflict within the team and the stress of training takes its toll.
That is why sports therapy also looks at the mental aspects of sports. It studies the impact sports has on athletes’ mental health and looks at ways to combat this and help them recover. The world of sports therapy has changed a lot and is now being more open to the mental issues that arise. That is why traditional therapy practices are being adapted for athletes as part of sports therapy.
A great example of this is certain sports teams now attend regular group therapy sessions as part of their training regime. Rather than everything being physical, they learn to open themselves up and respond to their emotions. And by doing this as a team they learn methods to support each other and be understanding of what other team members may be thinking or feeling. Tensions can run high out on the field. Fights happen. Words get flung. Damage is done. So these sessions serve as a point of calm and rest for these athletes.
Sports therapy is an often-understated field of medical care, but a very important one. Sport is a worldwide unifier. It brings us together in our communities. People love sitting down to watch their favorite team. But these athletes need the same care anyone does. That is why sports therapy is so important to athletes and the world as a whole.