My name is Nicola Baker. I qualified as SPS Sports Massage Therapist in 2009 from Cardiff Metropolitan University. The last eight years have been extremely busy.
Since qualifying I worked at the clinic based at NIAC, Cardiff. Working with other clinicians to help gain experience with a varied client base from athletes to senior citizens.
I worked with NRL Rugby League Officials at regional matches at the Brewery Field, Bridgend and international matches at various grounds in South Wales. This provided me with hands on experience of dealing with match related concerns, relaxation and recovery.
I have five years’ experience at a Physiotherapy Clinic in Cardiff looking after athletes, marathon runner, triathletes, Iron men/women and the general public with postural and de generational needs.
As a team from the Victoria Park Clinic we regularly attend events in Cardiff. In August 2015 we looked after the Wales Women’s rugby Team during their tour with a USA rugby team. For the past two years we have attended the Cardiff Triathlon which is a huge event in Cardiff. I’ve attended Cyclone 24 at the Velodrome in Newport for the last two years to support competitors in the fantastic charity event raising funds for The Wallich.
I am I keen cyclist and have completed the Velothon in 2015/16. In 2017 I trained and completed the long course weekend in July, a well organised and great event. I am now looking forward to finding my next challenge.
I regularly attend circuit classes and Funky Pump. This helps to keep up a high level of fitness.
I am extremely enthusiastic and a regular supporter of family members and friends competing in sporting events in Cardiff and surrounding areas. This includes Cardiff Half Marathon, Men’s Health, Tough Mudder and Iron Man Wales. I am a Cardiff Blues supporter.
Benefits of Sports Massage
Pumping – The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood vessels and lymph vessels. By increasing the pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.
Increased tissue permeability – Deep massage causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which help them recover quicker.
Stretching – Massage can stretch tissues that could not be stretched in the usual methods. Bundles of muscle fibres are stretched lengthwise as well as sideways. Massage can also stretch the sheath or fascia that surrounds the muscle, so releasing any tension or pressure build up.
Break down scar tissue – Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can effect muscle, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to injury and pain.
Improve tissue elasticity – Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic. This is one reason why hard training may not result in improvements. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues.
Opens micro-circulation – Massage does increase blood flow to tissues, but so does exercise. What massage also does is open or dilate the blood vessels and by stretching them this enables nutrients to pass through more easily.
Physiological effects of sports massage
Pain reduction – Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways including releasing the bodies endorphins.
Relaxation – Muscles relax through heat generated, circulation and stretching. Mechanoreceptors which sense touch, pressure, tissue length and warmth are stimulated causing a reflex relaxation.
Psychological effects of massage
Anxiety reduction – through the effects mentioned above relaxation is induced and so reduces anxiety levels.
Invigorating – if massage is done with brisk movements such as what would be done before an event then this can produces an invigorating feeling.