What is Sports Massage?
Sports massage was developed to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after a big event, or function well during training. However, contrary to what the name suggests, you don't have to be an athlete to benefit from sports massage. It is of benefit to anyone that exercises, even if it is only mild exercise such as regular walking.
Sports massage emphasizes prevention and healing of injuries to the muscles and tendons and can be beneficial for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion. It can be quite
strenuous and is meant to relieve and reduce the stress and tension that can build up within the body’s soft tissues while exercising. It can be carried out before, during, or after playing sport or
Sports massage will often utilise a variety of modalities such as remedial massage, trigger point therapy, cross fibre techniques, deep tissue work, stretching and strengthening to improve range of
motion/flexibility. Primarily, the difference lies with function. That is, returning you to your chosen activity in optimal functional
What Happens During Sports Massage
There are four treatment phases when performing Sports Massage in a clinic setting away from the sporting event.
- Pre-event sports massage: a short, stimulating massage 30-45 minutes one or two days before the event. It is directed toward the parts of the body that will be involved in the exertion. Aim is to enhance muscular tone and flexibility by preparing the athlete for competition.
- Post-event sports massage: given one or two days after the event. Aim is to create a prolonged state of reduced muscular tension and to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
- Training and Conditioning sports massage: given during training to allow the athlete to train
harder and with less injury.
- Restoration and Rehabilitative sports massage: aim is to help an acute problem, or keep a chronic problem from becoming acute. Proper rehabilitation helps the athlete to be able to return to the game more quickly and with less discomfort.
Benefits of Sports Massage
- Increase body health and vitality
- Remain injury free during performance
- Reducing muscle tension
- Relieving pain
- Preventing injuries
- Reduce fatigue
- Promote flexibility
- Increase blood circulation and lymph flow
- Improve heart rate and blood pressure
- Enhance the cool-down period, cutting down DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
- Treating injuries such as tennis elbow, golfers elbow, shin splints, strains and sprains, corked thighs etc