Take a look at some of the reported benefits of regular massage therapy.

More than just a tool for sports people, the benefits that you may experience are far reaching.

British Athletics


Over the last 2 months I have been involved more frequently with British Athletics, as I look to strengthen my link with them.

I was happy to be asked to work at the u20’s Relay Camp held at Loughborough University at the end of March. My role at the event was to ensure athletes were ready and able to complete each training session, assessing any niggles and enhancing their recovery from training. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, working alongside other great therapists and getting a glimpse of our next generation of sprinters.

Following the training camp I was also asked to provide cover at the Performance Centre whilst the majority of staff were away at the Commonwealth Games. Although the centre was very quiet because of the games, it was a great experience to be the sole therapist covering the centre and I was able to do some work with some great British athletes, including para-Olympic gold medallist Richard Whitehead.

I look forward to more work with British Athletics going forward. After spending some time learning from therapists & physios at the organisation I am keen to be asked to work with them more often and to develop my skills alongside some of the best therapists in the business. There is no doubt that the use of manual therapy within track and field more advanced than many other sports and so the more experience I can build in such an envirnment, the better therapist I will become.

Running injuries

Do you dream of being that runner who can run for 100’s of miles, 100% pain free? No aches, no twinges or niggles, no lingering soreness from yesterday’s session. Well, you are not alone; research shows that as many as 79% of runners get injured at least once during the year. Stop. Think about that number for a moment; nearly 8 out of every 10 runners you see at your next race have been or will be injured sometime that year.


Traffic lightsThink of running pains in terms of a spectrum. At one end you have severe, full-blown injuries, we’ll name that the red zone, which includes stress fractures that require time off. The other end, where you’re in top form, is the green zone. Mild, transient aches that bug you one day and disappear the next sit closer to the green end. Unfortunately, many runners get stuck in the middle, in the not-quite-injured but not-quite-healthy yellow zone. Your ability to stay in the green zone depends largely on how you react to that first stab of pain.


Often a little rest now, or reduction in training mileage and intensity, with some treatment, can prevent a lot of time off later. Developing a proactive long-term injury-prevention strategy, such as strength training, stretching, regular massage and foam-rolling can help keep you in the ‘green.’ Physical therapy is a lot like homework, not all of us like having to do it, but if you don’t do it, you are extremely likely to get into some injury trouble at some stage!

You can find more information and exercise leaflets for injury prevention at this link:


So, What Causes Running Injuries?

 There are a lot of theories as to what causes running injury but it seems the answer is fairly obvious: running! Research has stated that “running practice is a necessary cause for RRI (Running Related Injury) and, in fact, the only necessary cause.” With running being the key risk factor for running injuries what other factors influence risk?

Historically a lot of emphasis was placed on intrinsic factors like leg length discrepancy, pronation (flat foot), high arches, genu valgus/varum (knock knee or bow legged) and extrinsic factors like ‘special’ running shoes i.e. stability shoes or anti-pronation shoes, lack of stretching. However, recent studies have not provided much evidence that there is no one specific risk factor that has a direct cause-effect relationship with injury rate or injury prevention. Whilst warming up, compression garments, acupuncture and massage have some evidence in reducing injury rates, the literature is still a little grey. Leaving you with a multifactorial buffet of probable contributing causes to running injuries.

There is however one specific factor that has been proven, and that is training error. Estimates suggest that anywhere from 60 to as much as 80% of running injuries are due to training errors. Runners become injured when they exceed their tissues capacity to tolerate load. A combination of overloading with inadequate recovery time. Poorly perfused tissues, such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage, are particularly at risk because they adapt more slowly than muscles to increased mechanical load.

Factors that affect how much training load a runner can tolerate before injury will also have a role. There are 2 key factors that appear to play a part in this – Body Mass Index (BMI > 25) and history of previous injury, especially in the last 12 months. While high BMI and previous injury may reduce the amount of running your body can manage, strength and conditioning is likely to increase it. There is a growing body of evidence supporting the use of strength training to reduce injury risk and improve performance. Training error and injury risk share a complex relationship – total running mileage on its own may not be the total cause, but how quickly this, hill, and speed training increases.

The old saying of “too much, too soon” is probably quite accurate. Injury prevention is really a ‘mirror image’ of the causes of an injury. So, if you understand the primary reasons for getting injured then you are heading in the right direction to staying healthy this running season.

You can find out more on injury prevention, with recommended exercise leaflets, at the following link. We have produced a series of prevention and treatment guides for the 6 most common running injuries which you can download here:



What are The Most Common Injuries to be Aware of?

Body tissues such as muscles and tendons are continuously stressed and repaired on a daily basis, as a result of both ‘normal’ functional activities and sport. An overuse injury often occurs when a specific tissue cannot repair in the time available. As a result it begins to breakdown, initially at microscopic level and then over time develops into a true injury. So, the first time you feel a soreness, a stiffness or a pain is not necessarily when it all began – it will likely have been building up, under your radar for some time.

The most common injury is ‘Runners knee’ or patellofemoral pain syndrome and it accounts for over 40% of running injuries. This is followed closely by plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinopathy and then ITB (iliotibial band syndrome), shin splints and hamstring strain. These injuries generally need complete rest or at least a reduction in training volume and intensity, followed by physical therapy to promote tissue healing and mobility.

Although these are overuse injuries there is frequently an underlying muscle weakness and/or flexibility issue that needs to be addressed with specific rehabilitation exercises.

Follow this link to find more specific information about each of the most common running injuries with specific rehabilitation leaflets for you to use:


Here you can find our prevention and treatment guides for the following running injuries:

  • Medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints)
  • Patellofemoral pain (runner’s knee)
  • Achilles tendinopathy
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Hamstring strains
  • Iliotibial band syndrome

Discover the Secrets of Running Rehab_800x800px

While guidance can be given, it is general in its nature, whereas individual complaints may need individual attention. If you do pick up an injury (including ‘tightness’ ‘irritation’ or ‘niggle’) that you’re worried about then we can help, the sooner it’s treated the better.



Are you Proactive, or Reactive???

People proatively check in to see their dentist every so often in order to check up on the health of their teeth and ensure everything is as it should be….

Why not be proactive and schedule a check up with your therapist, or a ‘maintenance’  sports massage session, to keep your body operating in an optimum, pain free manner!

Don’t wait until that minor ache in your back has developed into a major debilitating condition before reacting to it.

Scheduling a sports massage session every couple of months could help to deal with any potential issues before they develop.
Too many times I see people with back pain who have waited and waited, taken no steps to combat it themselves and eventually have ended up at the docs, prescribed strong painkillers, told to avoid all sorts of activities, had MRI’s, taken lengthy periods off work.

All of these factors do nothing but create a vicious cycle that can play into more pain, more disruption from daily life.

Deal with it early, get advice on: 
– what may be the issue
– what YOU can do to help remedy the situation
– how pain does not equal damage
– how YOU can control you symptoms

Plus you get a nice hour of sports massage therapy to look forward too 👍🏼😎


Why Do Muscles Feel Tight?

Here I have copied the opening paragraphs to a great blog post by Todd Hargrove on the topic of muscle tightness. It seems as though every person I bump into complains of some part of their body felling ‘tight’.

What is this ‘tightness’ and what does it mean? Read below for Todd’s insight……..


“Why do muscles feel tight? Does that mean they are short? That they can’t relax? And what can you do about it?

Here are some of my thoughts about why muscles feel tight and what to do about it.

(Update – See bottom of the post for recent research confirming some of the speculations in this post.)

Tightness is a Feeling, Not Just a Mechanical Condition

When someone says they feel tight in a particular area, they might be referring to several different complaints. So I try to find out:

  • Are they talking about poor range of motion?
  • Or maybe range of motion is fine, but movement to the end range feels uncomfortable or takes excess effort.
  • Or maybe the problem isn’t really with movement, but just that the area never reels feels relaxed.
  • Or maybe the area feels basically relaxed, but has some vague sense of discomfort – a feeling that is unpleasant but too mild to be called pain.

This ambiguity means that the feeling of tightness is just that – a feeling – which is not the same thing as the physical or mechanical property of excess tension, or stiffness, or shortness. You can have one without the other.

For example, I have many clients tell me their hamstrings feel tight, but they can easily put their palms to the floor in a forward bend. I also have clients whose hamstrings don’t feel tight at all, and they can barely get their hands past their knees. So the feeling of tightness is not an accurate measurement of range of motion.

Nor is it an accurate reflection of the actual tension or hardness of a muscle, or the existence of “knots.” When I palpate an area that feels tight to a client (let’s say the upper traps), they often ask – can you feel how tight that is?! 

I often say something like:

Ummmmmm …… no. It feels just like the surrounding tissues.

But I completely understand that it FEELS tight in this area and you don’t like it.

I don’t like the feeling of tightness either so I want to help you get rid of it. But the feeling of being tight isn’t the same thing as that area actually being physically tight. Make sense?

This actually does make sense to most people, and they find it mildly interesting. I want people to understand this because it might help them reconsider a misconceived plan they may have already developed for curing their tightness – such as aggressive stretching, fascia smashing, or adhesion breaking. So now they are willing to consider an approach that is a bit more subtle than driving a lacrosse ball halfway through their ribcage.

Why do muscles feel tight if they are not actually tight?

So why would a muscle feel tight even if it physically loose?…………………..”

Follow the link below to continue with the article at Todd Hargrove’s blog site!


IAAF World Indoor Championships

Birmingham 2018

I am very please to have been asked to provide soft tissue / sport massage therapy at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham in 2018.

World Indoor Championships

“The 17th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics will be held in 2018 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. This will be the city’s second hosting of the event as it previously did so in 2003.”

I am excited to expand my experience of working in Athletics and get to work providing sports massage and helping some of the athletes push on to achieve their goals! This will be a massive event and the whole of the Country will be behind it, I am looking forward to spending time at the arena and taking in the atmosphere of the Championships.

I was involved providing sports massage / soft tissue therapy at the Junior European Championships earlier in 2017, where Team GB produced a record medal haul. Lets hope that Team GB can pull in the medals next year!


Eric Lichaj

Client Testimonial

“Alex has helped me through a full season of calf, hamstring, glute and quad soreness. He knows how to manage my body to decrease my recovery time after training and to keep me in peak condition for games.”

Eric Lichaj, Nottingham Forest & USA football player.

Eric is a player that I worked extensively with throughout the 2014-2017 football seasons both in my position at Nottingham Forest and in my private clinic. I would work with Eric daily throughout the football season, which places an extremely high demand on his body.

Through the consistent work and great understanding of how his body reacts to the different stressors of the football league we were able to tailor his sessions for maximal results for him.

A great player and a great professional!

To read more reviews of Central Sports Massage then please follow the link below:




Motion is Lotion!

Regular movement helps to keep our joints strong and our body’s pain free.

Whether this is due to a mechanical process or for neurological reasons, the fact is, if you want to reduce your risk of pain & discomfort and want to keep active and mobile well into your later years you need to:

– Move often
– Use your body’s full range of movement
– Take the stairs
– Run to the shop
– Wrestle with your kids
– Climb things
– Hang from things
– Lift things
– Dance to your favourite songs

Being physically healthy doesn’t have to involve hours in a gym. Find something that suits you and have fun with it!

At Central Sports Massage we can help you:

-keep your body in great condition by working to keep your muscles loose and hydrated.
-We can incorporate mobilisation techniques that can help you keep your joints in great condition.
– We can assist you with your flexibility with specific stretch techniques aimed to maximise your range of movement.

Get in touch to book your session and let us help you keep living right!


British AthleticsBritish Athletics Training Day

I recently attended an end of season training day with British Athletics. The day was hosted by UKA head Physical Therapist Shane Kelly.

The training was held at the Loughborough University based Seb Coe High Performance Athletics Centre. It brought together the doctors, physios and soft tissue therapists that British Athletics use to provide medical cover throughout the season at training camps and events.

British Athletics HiPAC

This was a great opportunity to come together with such an experienced and proficient group of professionals.

During the day we had presententions relating to the British Athletics approach to hamstring injury management. Whilst also getting hands on for two practical sessions lead by British Athletics’ two full time soft tissue therapists.

These sessions focussed on the anterior hip and the foot and ankle. They were especially relevant to trackside therapy with a lot of active release techniques. These techniques can be utilised to create quick results that can enable an athlete to continue to perform. It was great to have a large number of experienced therapists all sharing ideas. As a result, I definitely picked up a few new ways of approaching certain areas that I know will compliment my style of work.

All in all it was a great training day and I look forward to continuing my work with British Athletics going into 2018!

British Athletics Stadium


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Northern Ballet

I was very happy this month to have teamed up with the Northern Ballet company to provide post show sports massage treatment for one of their principle performers, Javier Torres, after his performance in ‘The Little Mermaid’ at the Nottingham Theatre Royal.

These tours come thick and fast, with numerous performances per day. The demand on the performers is great, so much so that they have numerous performers cast for each principle role. This allows them to rotate the cast to give the individual performers time to recover between shows and not overload themselves.

Just in the same way that sportsmen utilise soft tissue therapy and sports massage to aid their recovery and prevent injury, stage performers undergo just as much physical stress and as such require the same level of work behind the scenes to keep them fit and able to perform to their peak levels.


“A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research took a look at classical ballet from the perspective of it being a sport. They selected previously published research and examined professional ballet dancers along a series of fitness parameters:

Aerobic capacity – Professional dancers were found to have lower demands on the heart than non-professional level dancers, perhaps due to physical adaptation from the volume and years of training.

Muscular power and endurance – Ballet dancers demonstrate higher vertical jumps than the average population and also a greater adaptation to long periods of demand on their muscles.

Muscular strength – While dancers demonstrate greater strength in their hips than other populations, they are generally wary of strength training due to the aesthetic demands of ballet.

Anthropometry – To meet the aesthetic requirements of ballet, dancers frequently keep their caloric intake very low possibly predisposing them to bone density problems and injuries.

Flexibility – Dancers, on average, display a much higher capability than average.

Agility – Not much information on dancers and agility could be found by the study, but dance training was found to increase agility in athletes in other sports.

In conclusion, the study found classical ballet could be compared with other high-intensity interval training, but unlike athletes in sports, ballet dancers are not always physically prepared for the demands put on their bodies.” (ref:breakingmuscle.com)


On a personal level, I thoroughly enjoy working with a wide range of populations. It allows me to observe different movement patterns and the effect that this has on the musculature of the body. Each sport, dance, occupation and so on, places different physical demands on the body and I find it fascinating to see how the body adapts to these demands!

When working with professional footballs at Nottingham Forest I learned very quickly the areas that commonly caused players problems. With that, I also identified the best way to apply therapy to alleviate these issues. This is the same for the large number of runners that I regular treat. Now, as I begin to see more and more dancers, I am starting to recognise similar patterns and I can begin to adapt my treatment process to optimise results.

I hope to continue to work with members of the Northern Ballet company when they are in town!

Dancer Masge

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