Q: Is Sports Massage for me, if I don't do sports?
A: Techniques that work well on muscles that have become tight or strained from use on the sports field will work equally well on muscles that have become tight or strained from use (or mis-use) in the garden, at work or through recreation.
Q: Can massage harm me?
A: There are some contra-indications to massage treatment, such as over open wounds or over tumours. Good professional training informs the Practitioner what can and can not be attempted. Any SMA member will have had this training.
Too heavy massage of delicate tissue can cause bruising. Whilst this is undesirable, it is usually unlikely to cause any serious damage. It is however, one reason why I ask my patients always to tell me, at the time, if they feel any pain or discomfort.
Q: What are the benefits of sports massage?
A: Massage eases tight muscles and connective tissue, resulting in better muscle balance and function. This may, in turn, ease many painful joint conditions.
Massage improves the flow of blood and other fluids in the body, which means that the body will work more efficiently.
Massage relaxes the body and the mind
For the sports person these benefits mean more, and more effective, training, which should lead to improved performance.
Q: How many treatments will I need?
A: You will be assessed at your first consultation. Usually no more than 3 treatments (frequently less) will be needed to establish whether these treatments are for you or whether they are helping, or will help, your condition. It may be that to maintain an improvement more treatments may be needed.
Regular treatment can be of great benefit from a preventative point of view.
Q: Won't I find Pilates boring?
A: It may look gentle and un-demanding, but Pilates requires great concentration, particularly initially. Before strength can be built, there is a need to relearn how to recruit the correct muscles and muscle patterns.
Q: Can Pilates harm me?
A: Yes. A poorly trained or careless teacher might ask you to do exercises that your body is not yet ready for, and, for example, a vulnerable back might be put at risk. It is therefore important that you use a properly trained and registered teacher. Mike Ker is registered with the Body Control Pilates Association.
Q: How many lessons will I need?
A: You get out what you put in; the more you practise the quicker you will learn. Initially you would need to learn how to engage your various cores to give yourself the stability to enable you to move your limbs correctly. As you learn Pilates you become more "body aware" and it becomes easier to learn to control the manner and order in which you use your muscles.
If you have lessons on your own, or in small groups, you will learn more quickly and more effectively than in large groups.
A course of 10 lessons would give a basic grounding in Pilates, but you would need many more to become proficient. Even teachers of Pilates need the occasional lesson to ensure that they are moving correctly; it is very difficult to check on oneself. You never stop learning.
Q: Is Pilates mainly for women?
A: Not at all. It was invented by a man, originally for his own benefit. Men probably need Pilates even more than women, being naturally less supple. They are also generally less aware of how bad their posture may have become.
Many male actors, celebrities and sports stars are devotees; it is becoming increasingly popular with players of team sports such as Rugby, Cricket and Football.
Q: Can Pilates be the only form of exercise that I do?
A: No, you should also do some form of aerobic exercise. This could be walking, swimming, cycling, running or tennis etc. What you do and how much depends on your physical condition and health. Doing Pilates should enable you to do more. However you should always start gently and build up slowly. If in doubt consult your doctor.
Q: Can I do Pilates if I am pregnant?
A: Yes, but it may need to be modified, and you must stop if you feel any discomfort.
You should check with your doctor before starting any kind of exercise, if you are pregnant. Pilates is a particularly suitable form of exercise to do during pregnancy, since it strengthens the pelvic floor, lower abdomen and back. It is also a very low impact form of exercise.