Sports Massage

Promote and improve muscle function, recovery, movement and pain while increasing mental awareness and mobility

An amazing treatment for anyone struggling with tension, spasms, postural imbalances and firing pattern issues within their muscles.

A targeted therapeutic treatment for the unique physical and biomechanical needs of athletes, gym goers and office workers.

Let’s face it, we all push things too far sometimes, and at 8 th  Element we know a thing or two about movement. Which is where our expert sports massage therapy can help!

We feel massage is essential in promoting and improving muscle recovery, flexibility, muscular activation, physical fitness and mental awareness; in turn helping to reduce rehabilitation times and alleviating physical and mental stress levels, promoting excellent performance, health and well being.

Our expert therapists individually tailor each treatment, in order to help you release tension, relieve pain improve imbalances and firing patterns through mobilising soft tissues in order to improve performance and help prevent injury.

It doesn’t stop there, our specialist Sports massage can also help restore
musculoskeletal imbalances, assisting in rehabilitation provided by Sports therapists, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths and Podiatrists.

You’ll help speed up your healing process and significantly reduce any discomfort within the muscle fascia or connective tissue by mobilising, loosening, and helping eliminate cramps, spasms, tears and bruising.

Not only that, the increased blood flow and circulation allows significant toxin removal improving the supply of your wonder healing molecule ‘OXYGEN’, improving nutrient supply to the soft tissues. All-in-all assisting muscular Range of movement, muscle recruitment and recovery.

Whether you are a professional athlete, a once a week jogger, or an office worker, everyone experiences physical and mental fatigue, imbalances, and muscular irregularities, stress and tension, and it is our goal to assist you in achieving and maintaining peak bodily performance and support the healing of injuries and stresses placed on you throughout daily life and training.

Techniques Practiced:1
  • NMT (Neuromuscular Therapy)
  • STR (Soft Tissue Release)
  • PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation)
  • Myofascial Release
  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • MET (Muscle Energy Techniques)
  • Swedish Massage
  • Deep Tissue and Sports Specific Massage strokes with IASM (Instrument Assisted Sports Massage)
We also Include:
  • Mobilisations
  • Postural/Biomechanical Assessments
  • Exercise Prescription
  • Kinesio Taping
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound and TENS

1. Range of treatments varies per practitioner

Optimum Performance for Competitions

If you have a competition approaching, why not take advantage of our Pre and Post event Sports Massage – enhance and optimize sports performance as well as reduce pain and recovery times after events or injury.

If you are interested in the wider reasons and benefits to this service you can read all about the science behind sports massage

Pre Event Massage and Prep

Our pre-event massage offers a fast light massage that promotes oxygen
absorption within the sports-related muscle group.

The rapid massage also stimulates the neuropathways, which internally
prepare the muscles for optimum performance. The increase in blood flow
also enhances joint mobility, helping to reduce the risk of injury.

This particular massage may also help to reduce any excess anxiety which
is known to negatively affect sports performance.

Combined with this – if required – we’ll look to utilise our Rock Taping skills
to functionally assist in the movements required for your competition.

Post Event Massage and Recovery

The objective of a post-event massage is to increase the athlete‘s rate of
recovery by increasing localized vascular and lymphatic activity, enhancing
recovery from excessive lactic acid build up. Helping to calm the nervous
system allowing the body to commence its natural repair state quicker.

It’s by-products such as lactic acid that contribute towards the delayed
onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), fatigue, pain and stiffness.

By using various massage techniques the body will be able to implement a
faster more fuller recovery whilst also providing physical and mental

The Results

In just under 2 weeks I’ll be taking part in a double marathon. I can honestly say I wouldn’t have been able to train like I have if it wasn’t for the treatments and nutrition and training knowledge the team has given me over the last few months.

Alex Selfe

As a PT it's important for me to keep on top of any niggles and muscular issues. I see 8th Element every few months to work through any adhesions and issues I have. I always leave feeling amazing, supple and ready to move as we are intended to. Throughout the session I receive useful prevention advice and rehab techniques which helps me keep on top of my own issues too. Top class.

Ryan Bayliss

I’m so impressed with their knowledge, skill and understanding of the human body, its needs and movement. Their ability to work on the spot and provide tailored treatments that actually work is just perfection.

Irina Walsh

As an Ultra marathon runner, I use 8th Element for all my aches, pains and help during my training. Their running expertise boosts my performances and recovery. They’ve kept me racing optimally, especially with treating cracked ribs the day before a 100k race – which certainly made a tough race more comfortable.

Simon Ward

I just had my first ever sports massage and I was weirdly nervous, but Hannah really put me at ease, so knowledgeable and informative. And I’m feeling amazing.

Donna Prentice

I visited Hannah with lower back pain. I went in bent over and came out standing tall. Excellent service provided in a professional but friendly manner. I can’t wait for some maintenance sessions.

Debbie Frances

Hot stone therapy - I must say that I have quickly become a fan. For me, sports massages are rather painful and I have found that with hot stones, trigger points almost dissolve, so the need of putting a great deal of pressure on each trigger point is minimised. And the benefits are incredible. I have to travel a long way to the clinic, but the treatments are worth every mile.

Sapna Patel

Honestly Hannah knows exactly how to soothe my sore bits! Seriously though, she is amazing and comes highly recommended by lots of people who train hard.

Sarah Neg

Hannah gives a great sports massage and makes you feel relaxed and comfortable! Best prices for top service. Highly recommended!

Vicky Davies

Hannah is amazing at what she does, I felt very comfortable & at ease, I’d highly recommend her & I will definitely be a regular client

Keeley Spice

I recently had a sports massage with Hannah, she knows exactly what she’s doing and puts you at ease, relieved so much tension in my shoulders, I felt amazing after and I slept like a baby!

Donna Prentice

I've been suffering from neck and shoulder pain and was suggested to try a sports massage. I was nervous as never had one before but Hannah was great at putting me at ease and explaining everything. I would definitely recommend as I felt better for it and have already booked the next session.

Angela Hannaford


Initial Massage Consultation


60min Session

If it’s your first visit with us and you’re looking for a sports massage, we’ll need to have a consultation before beginning treatment to ensure we are creating a bespoke service to your bodies needs. We’ll also start treatment in this first session!

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Advanced Sports Massage


40/60/90min Sessions

An enhancement on our standard sports massages. Our expert Injury therapists use a wider array of techniques and knowledge to deal with imbalances, firing pattern issues and rehabilitation, whilst still Repairing, Relaxing, Resetting and Revitalising. This treatment tends to be focused on specific problem areas but is fully customisable.

40min (£47.50)60min (£57.50)90min (£82.50)

Behind the Service

Michael Carlton

BTEC (level 6) - Advanced Clinical and Sports massage and orthopaedic practitioner

A senior therapist, Mikes degree and advanced clinical massage and orthopaedic qualifications, combined with his vast experience, allow for a comprehensive assessment and treatment skill set. Ensuring only the best and most specific modalities are chosen for your needs. (excluding mobilisations/adjustments, cupping, Ultrasound and Electrotherapy)

John Martin

BSc(hons) Sports Therapy, MSST, STO

A senior therapist, Johns degree and advanced biomechanics training, combined with his vast experience, allow for a comprehensive assessment and treatment skill set. Ensuring only the best and most specific modalities are chosen for your needs.

Hannah Illman

BTEC (level 3) Sports Massage Therapy and Personal Trainer

Hanna’s massage therapy and PT skill set ensure that you are left feeling rejuvenated, released and ready for sport. Focusing predominantly on Soft tissue work, but by combining her Advanced PT ability with Sports massage ensures you have everything you need to move and compete as you should. Hannah is progressively building her skill base, so you can expect the ‘excluding’ list to dwindle away before you know it. (excluding mobilisations/adjustments, Ultrasound, Electrotherapy, biomechanical assessments, Kinesio taping, NMT,)

The Science Behind Our Massage Treatments

Why Massage

Massage has been used in most cultures since early civilization and has had a long tradition of use in sport (Stamford 1985). Throughout the years, its profile has increasingly grown and its use in sport at the highest level is now well established (Hemmings, 2001), and although many researchers have provided contradictory evidence with regards to sports massage directly affecting performance, it is surely the athletes’ perception that matters.

After all, ‘successful forms of treatment often run ahead of the precise knowledge of the premises from which they arise’. (Pemberton,1950)

Increased Blood Flow - Physiological Effects

Frequent claims are made in the sports literature regarding the benefits of massage which include improved stretching of tendons and connective tissues (Samples 1987), relief of muscle tension and spasm (Ryan, 1980), and elimination of waste products following training (Birukov 1987).

Massage is also assumed to enhance muscle recovery from intense exercise, principally due to its ability to speed blood flow, and although studies like Catarelli and Flint (1993), point out that reports on limb blood flow vary from little effect of massage to as much as 50% increase in blood flow, to Dubrovosky (1990), who showed that massage promoted acceleration of muscle and venus blood flow increased blood volume and reduced muscle tightness.

Other researchers such as Tidus and Shoemaker (1995) regard studies such as these to be plagued with methodological problems associated with techniques used to determine blood flow.

Lactate Removal - Physiological Effects

A great deal of evidence exists which suggests that accumulated lactate, is partially responsible for slowing recovery from fatigue (Gupta et al. 1996, MacClaren et al. 1989, Maughan et al. 1997). While the majority of lactate accumulated during exercise is removed by direct oxidation and through conversion into glycogen (Hemmings, 2001), there has been considerable research to discover if oxidation can be enhanced through various methods of recovery. Since it has been proposed that massage could increase blood flow to the muscles being massaged, and blood flow is suggested to be an important factor in the removal of lactate following exercise through enhanced oxidation and diffusion out of the muscles (Dodd et al. 1984), studies have sought to determine whether massage has any effect on lactate removal following exercise.

Bale and James (1991), found that post-exercise blood lactate levels were shown to be significantly lower following a massage compared with a passive rest. Additionally, Dolgener and Morien (1993) and Martin et al. (1998) demonstrated superior lactate disappearance in 40% V02 max massage recovery compared to passive recovery, following short-term intense exercise. However, Wilmore and Costills (1994) findings further suggest that an active warm down combined with massage may be more efficient at removing lactate in the recovery phase following exercise.

Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) - Physiological Effects

Delayed onset of muscle soreness is a painful condition that occurs as the athletes engage in a sudden increase in intensity within their training.

The soreness and stiffness experienced by the athlete often begins within 24 hours post-exercise and peaks between 48 – 72 hours post-exercise, with any one of 5 factors being the cause:

  • Minute tears in the muscle tissue itself or damage to its contractile components,
  • Osmotic pressure changes, that cause retention of fluids in the surrounding tissues,
  • Muscle spasms,
  • Overstretching
  • Acute inflammation
  • A combination of the above factors. (McArdle 1996)

Although the precise cause of muscle damage is unknown, the degree of discomfort depends to a large extent on the intensity and duration of effort and the type of exercise performed. It is not the absolute force per se, but rather the magnitude of strain imposed on a muscle fiber that precipitates muscle damage and resulting soreness.

Decreased range of motion and a reduction in muscle force output by as much as 50% has been reported with DOMS (Cleak et al, 1992. Davies et al, 1981. Newham et al, 1987). Furthermore, muscular deficits may take up to 2 weeks for maximal recovery (cleak et al, 1992).

A vast amount of research has been conducted to determine the best methods of reducing DOMS. Methods ranging from Cyrotherapy (Easton et al, 1999), and pulsed ultrasound (Craig et al 1990) to, Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation (Denegar et al, 1992), but they all show no evidence of reducing DOMS, however, Earnst (1998) stated that there was evidence to suggest massage could alleviate symptoms of DOMS. Indeed positive effects were also cited by Balke et al (1989), who showed that mechanical and manual massage aid recuperation from exercise fatigue more effectively than rest alone. While Smith et al (1994) also reports sports massage, as an effective method of reducing DOMS post exercise. Bale and James (1991) also reported a positive effect of massage on muscle soreness post exercise compared to rest and warm down conditions.

The Psychological Effects of Massage

Every athlete experiences body fatigue and brain fatigue. Sports massage helps restore the athlete back to an optimum level of physical and mental readiness. The psychological benefits of sports massage have been frequently reported for many years. For instance, Weinberg et al, (1988) found a positive relationship between massage and mood state in physical education students. Likewise, Leivadi et at, (1999) found dance students experienced less anxiety and a more positive mood state following massage therapy. A series of recent studies also support the use of massage for psychological regeneration, for example, Hemmings, (2000a) showed how massage improved mood state in amateur boxers who were undergoing intensive training, while another similar study by Hemmings, (2000b) showed how massage improved perceived recovery and performance.

Other frequently reported benefits toward athletes were, enhanced emotional well being, calmness, improved mood, relaxation, and reduced anxiety. As well as athletes reporting a heightened sense of awareness, confidence and a mental readiness to compete. (Hemmings 2001)

Although all of the above traits are important, confidence is stated to be the most intriguing topics within sports psychology (Singer et al 2001).
Sports confidence as seen in Vealey, (1986) Is, ‘the belief or degree of certainty individuals possess about their abilities to be successful in sport.’ And after achieving peak performances, athletes often experience a strong, almost ‘shatterproof’ sense of confidence, that they believe allowed them to perform their best (Singer et al, 2001). However, Singer, (2001) also states that two of the most dreaded psycho-behavioural occurrences in sport are; chocking under pressure and sudden performance slumps, these are often attributed to, over-arousal, excess anxiety and ‘loosing ones confidence’.

If the athlete is over-aroused or highly anxious, pre-event massage can control these factors and regulate them, allowing the athlete to feel mentally and physically prepared.

The ability to concentrate effectively is also stated to be the mental key to successful performance in sport (Moran 1996). Likewise, Abernethy, (1993) observed that it is difficult to imagine anything more important to the performance than, ‘paying attention to the task at hand’. Similarly, Summers et al, (1991) suggest that the attention factors such as, ‘sustained alertness and freedom from distraction’, are vital ingredients of athletic performance.

Once again these key factors can be enhanced via pre-event sports massage. The treatment time allows the athlete and therapist to focus on the sport or event in hand, and hone in on their tasks and abilities.