Sports massage is a form of therapy geared toward participants in athletics. 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 has three basic applications: pre-event massage, post-event massage, and maintenance massage.
- Pre-event sports massage is done to help prevent serious athletic injury. It helps to warm up the muscles, stretching them and making them flexible for optimal athletic performance. A pre-event massage stimulates the flow of blood and nutrients to the muscles, reduces muscle tension, loosens the muscles, and produces a feeling of psychological readiness.
- Post-event sports massage helps reduce the swelling caused by micro-traumas; loosens tired, stiff muscles; helps maintain flexibility; promotes blood flow to the muscle to remove lactic acid and waste build-up; and reduces cramping. In addition, post-event massage helps speed the athlete’s recovery time and alleviates pulls, strains, and soreness.
- Maintenance sports massage is done at least once a week during a regular athletic training programs, although professional athletes who have their own massage therapists may have maintenance massage daily. Maintenance massage increases the flow of blood and nutrients to the muscles. It also keeps the tissues loose so that different layers of muscle slide easily over each other. Maintenance sports massage also helps reduce the development of scar tissue while increasing flexibility and range of motion.
“The goal of all sports massage is to maximize athletic performance. Athletes in different sports will concentrate the massage on different parts of the body.”
Heavy athletes exercise, and overuse causes micro-traumas and swelling to the muscles. Conditions that generally respond well to massage as a complementary therapy include:
- muscle stress, tension, soreness and pain
- muscle strain and sprain
- edema – swelling – (ice therapy)
- muscle soreness
- trigger point – referred pain
- repetitive strain injuries
Sports Massage can help these conditions, but it should never be used to replace skilled medical care. Athletes should wait 1–2 hours after competing before having a post-event massage.
Precaution Certain ligament and joint injuries often need, rest, immobilization and ice depending upon the injury condition. People who suffer from these injuries should also consult with their physician.
Sports massage, is counter-indicated for acute infectious disease; aneurysm; heavy bruising; cancer; hernia; high blood pressure; inflammation due to tissue damage; osteoporosis ; phlebitis ; varicose veins ; and certain skin conditions. Individuals who are intoxicated are not good candidates for sports massage.
Claude Barrett, LMT, CST
License Number mt004572.
Claude is a Member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP)); Medallion Member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners (IAHP); Certified Upledger Institute CranioSacral Therapist and an Graduate in Advanced Clinical and Holistic Applications of Massage Therapy, from the Institute of Natural Healing Science, (INHS).
© 2011 – 2018 All Rights Reserved; Quantum InnerQi Healing 0By Claude Barrett, LMT, CST.