Sports massage is a form of bodywork for athletes at every level. Professional athletes use sports massage as part of their regimen, and even weekend runners can reap the benefits of regular sports massage. It is used to help prevent injuries, to prepare the body for athletic activity and maintain it in optimal condition, and to help athletes recover from workouts and injuries.
Sports massage is the specific manipulation and assessment of soft tissue for therapeutic purposes. Massage helps to restore normal functional activity of the various structures of the body, while maintaining good physical condition and health, by mobilizing and improving muscle tone, promoting relaxation, stimulating circulation, and producing therapeutic effects throughout the body.
Sports massage helps with motion and flexibility, and also helps athletes in their strength training. Techniques used in sports massage can vary from sport to sport, but the overall focus is generally the same…to focus on muscles that tend to be overused during the sport and become painful and stressed due to repetitive movement.
Sports massage can be used before working out to prep muscle for strenuous work, and can also be used post-workout to reduce recovery time. Massage helps athletes to reach maximum performance during training and can help to reduce the chance of injury. Sports massage can increase flexibility, reduce fatigue, and improve endurance, and assisting in prepping the body (and mind) for performance.
Understanding timing, technique and overall intent of sports massage enables therapists to best help their clients. The time the massage is given can impact the outcome for the client, whether the massage is pre or post workout, and whether it is for injury prevention or is post-injury to help aid the recovery and healing process.
The techniques used in sports massage can vary greatly depending on the particular needs of the client. Techniques used can include proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation/stretches, reciprocal inhibition, trigger point and strain/counter-strain techniques, and cross fiber friction.
Knowing the intent of the massage session is vital. Is this massage to be done prior to the athlete’s workout as a preventive measure? Is the massage to help the athlete in recovering from an injury so they can get back on the field? Understanding the intent of the massage will help to best meet a client’s needs, and will help to tailor the techniques used to best suit the client’s current situation.
Understanding sports massage will help massage therapists to apply the appropriate treatments for clients. We are holding a two-day Sports Massage Class June 3 and 4 from 9am-4:30pm. Contact us for info or register here on our website on our Continuing Education page.