Sports massage is technique that is particularly helpful to athletes. It may be used before, during and after sports events or training. Working the soft tissues in the body, have a variety of benefits such as preventing injury, working out the soreness, and enhancing sports performance. Sports massage is generally apart of the training program for most elite athletes.
A sports massage is customized based on the needs of the athlete. It may be stimulating, relaxing, or used for pain relief. A sports massage is not a cure for sports-related injury or defect, however it helps athletes reach their peak practice and performance levels.
Sports massage is very specific, it was designed to prevent and treat sports injuries, relieve muscle pain, increase flexibility and range of motion, prepare the athlete for the mental game, and help them achieve peak performance.
During a sports massage the therapist will perform a particular blend of deep tissue, Shiatsu and Swedish massage techniques that have been used as the standard for sports massage. The movement of the hands are often much faster and more precise than regular massage.
Sports massage therapist will need to understand the individual sport the athlete works with, and how the players will move. They will know the differences between the physical demands of the different players on each team and will use this knowledge to prepare the athlete for a performance, or to identify problems after the game.
Pre-event sports massages are different than most ordinary massages. They are meant to stimulate the muscles and focus the mind. They increase circulation. They help prepare the body for the specific movements that will be demanded of it during the sports event. In short, total relaxation is the enemy in a pre-event sports massage.Post-event sport massages are used to assist in healing of an injury and return an athlete to homeostasis.
Benefits of a sports massage for an athlete include:
Increase the circulation of blood in the body
The circulation in the muscles may slows down during activity, and the muscles become tight and sore a few hours later. After a massage, the muscles will be refreshed by this wash of new, oxygenated blood.
Sports massage increases flow in lymphatic system
This renewed circulation, along with the improved circulation of blood, helps the body carry away waste. Since athletes muscles build up large amounts of various types of waste, such as lactic acid, during prolonged events, this is very beneficial to an athlete.
Bodywork improves flexibility
During sports massage the massage therapist stretches the body parts to improve joint flexibility and relieve joint pain. This stretching will also improves range of motion for athletes.
Sports massage can be used to help the athlete prevent injuries
Sports massage technique is designed to make the muscles and joints makes them more resilient. They help lengthen out shortened, tightened muscles and increase muscle stability. Muscle imbalances can be corrected for more better movements that are less likely to result in injury.
Bodywork can be used for treatment of injuries
Identification of the injury, and understanding of how to assist in healing of an injury. Often the massage therapist is the first to make notice a problems. Some injuries that a sports massage may be able to assist with are: sprains, strains, plantar fasciitis, and tendinitis.
Sports massage assists with a condition called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
This condition occurs a few hours after exercise. This condition can be painful and affect the player’s ability to perform in the next event. Severe cases, it may cause him problems with everyday functioning. Massage can be used to treat this condition in most cases.
During a sports massage, the therapist might also work with scar tissue. Manipulating around scar tissue will help improve its position and texture and to help reduce it. Scar tissue from muscle damage can be very limiting in sports ability.
Sports massage technique can use massage to either sedate or stimulate the nerve endings. In a pre-event massage it would be important to stimulate the muscles and nerves for the event; in a post-event massage, relaxation would be the goal.