Massage therapy is popularly known to reduce anxiety, tension, and pain. And yes, it just feels good, right? Massage’s potential is so much greater than being just relaxing. Athletes often require this kind of therapy in order to complete their training regime as well as improve their performance. “Sports massage” is a specific branch of the overall world of sports medicine. Specific techniques utilize deep muscle manipulation that aid in the elimination of toxins in the muscle tissue. These techniques fall somewhere between Shiatsu and Swedish styles of massage. Sports massage falls into two categories: pre-event or post-even massage.
For those receiving pre-event treatment, it’s best to keep to within two days of the sports event. The idea is to stimulate nutrient and blood flow to the muscle tissue. Physiological relaxation is a side effect of massage, encouraging mental confidence as well. Pre-event massage often has the effect of improving warm-ups, stretching and manipulating muscles. This improves circulation, which can reduce chances of injury.
Post-performance massage is a bit different, in that it is fast and direct. It lasts 10 – 15 minutes on average, and focuses right on particular areas affected by the sport in question. Compression techniques are the primary techniques of use, with compressive and petrissage techniques as well. The intention is that muscle tension is ease, and muscle recovery speeds up with fewer muscle spasms. The goal is to achieve full range of motion as soon as possible. It’s common that serious sports teams retain an on-site chair masseuse to make sure sports massage can happen as needed during competition.
Like all massage, sports massage incorporates the physical, psychological, and physiological to achieve system balance. With massage for pain management, it’s pretty easy to see where the physical effects come from; however, there are other benefits as well. Lactic acid and other waste is ferreted more quickly out of the system, and massage promotes improved circulation. Scare tissues break down faster, and athletes see an improvement in muscle elasticity. Then, people see increased blood flow to various muscles.
Sports massage has great benefits for serious athletes looking for that “something extra.” Pre and post massage techniques each encourage different benefits. Massage therapists help athletes reduce their chances of injury, increase muscle elasticity, and reduce the time to recovery. Massage therapy will benefit any sports training routine. Check with your trainers and your massage therapist to bring massage into your regular exercise routine.
By: Kyle Kalama