Sports massage is created to enhance athletic performance and recovery. However, you don't have to be an athlete to benefit from this type of massage! Sports massage is therapeutic for anyone with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion for whatever reason. A sports massage therapist is trained to treat different injuries and and also to provide a preventative massage therapy for muscle health and connective tissues, tone, symmetry, balance of muscle and quality of posture.
A specially-trained sports massage therapist has mastery of a wide range of techniques and knows when to use them. They can use different applications like shaking, compression, broadening strokes, direct pressure, cross-fiber friction, range of motion and stretching. You may also notice some techniques from other types of massage that are used, like Swedish massage to stimulate blood circulation, and Trigger Point Therapy to break down knots in the muscles.
There are three areas in which sports massage can be beneficial to an athlete:
- Injury treatment
Pre-event sports massage
Pre-event massage is facilitated at the performance site, usually with the athlete fully clothed. It is fast-paced, stimulating and helps to establish high blood flow to warm up muscles.
Post-event sports massage
Post-event massage is also given on site, through the clothes, with intent to calm the nervous system and begin the process of flushing waste products and toxins out of the body.
Post-event massage can reduce recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than normal. When an athlete gets injured, a sports massage can often increase and improve the quality of healing.
A constant build-up of tension in the muscles from regular activity can cause stress on the joints, ligaments, tendons, as well as the muscles themselves. Regular massage can help athletes prevent injuries which might otherwise be caused by overuse - something many athletes tend to experience.