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A good sports massage treads a fine line between pain and pleasure, writes Kaye Holland.

Make no mistake: sports massages aren’t for the faint hearted. Loved, as the name suggests, by athletes - during the London 2012 Olympics, sports massage accounted for 36 per cent of treatment provided to athletes, second only to physiotherapy - a sports massage is anything but pampering.

For while Swedish and Aromatherapy massages are all about long, light strokes, candles and new age music, a sports massage involves a therapist identifying your painful areas  - and then pummelling the hell out of them.

Initially the idea of lying face down under a sheet atop a massage table waiting for my muscles to be poked and kneaded into submission didn’t thrill me.  However by the beginning of November I had grown tired of friends and family screaming "shoulders down!" - a consequence of spending 10 hours a day hunched over a laptop -  at me on a daily basis, and of waking up every morning with an agonising crick in my neck. So muttering the mantra "no pain, no gain", my office-weary body made it's way to Wigmore Street in the hope that a sports massage at Nova Therapy would ease my muscular tension.

And having tried the treatment, I can testify that it is pure magic for the muscles. My therapist (tip: ask for Kremy or Tedy) rubbed, pressed, squeezed and worked her way around my body as though with the claws of a satisfied cat, using her arms and knuckles to knead out the knots.  While my whole body needed work, it was my neck, shoulders and upper back that were brutally tight - a consequence of all that typing - and subsequently required the most attention. It was while my upper body was being worked on that I experienced a succession of clicks - the sound of my joints being moved back into their rightful place.

While this might not sound in the slightest bit relaxing, surprisingly - when you factor in the enticing concoction of essential oils and the sound of soft ocean music playing from the corner of the room - it actually is. It’s painful, but in a good way and there were several stages when - despite the fact that my body’s tissue was being deeply penetrated - I actually found myself drifting away…

£60 for an hour of hurt might sound like madness but in my mind, it's money well spent if it puts a spring back in your step ahead of the party season. I emerged slightly sore, sure, but with a straight back and improved posture, convinced that regular sports massages are the way forward.

To book an appointment with Kremy or Tedy at Nova Therapy at The Wigmore Clinic, call  07474 098 998, email contact@novatherapy.co.uk or book online


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Sports massage: no pain, no gain
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