What is Sports Massage?
First, let’s just say it’s not just for athletes!
Sports massage is a special type of therapeutic bodywork that is particularly, but not exclusively, helpful to athletes. A trained therapist works the soft tissues of the body, providing a variety of benefits such as preventing injury, working out the soreness, and enhancing muscle performance.
Most elite athletes have sports massage done regularly as a part of their training program. It is used before, during and after sporting events. The most popular types of sports massage include Shiatsu, muscle stripping, cross-fiber friction and vigorous movements.
Bodywork is also very sport-specific. The therapist has knowledge of the way the body moves in a particular sport and determines what is needed for optimal performance.
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What are the benefits of sports massage?
Sports massage can treat a variety of injuries that may occur as a result of exercise and has been proven to allow you to train or exercise more efficiently. More benefits include:
- draining away fatigue
- relieving swelling
- reducing muscle tension
- promoting flexibility
- relieving pain
- preventing injuries
- improving heart rate and blood pressure
- increasing blood circulation and lymph flow
- advanced healing of injuries such as shin splints, tennis elbows, sprains and strains, corked thighs, and tendonitis
Who can benefit from a Sports Massage?
While athletes like runners, golfers, tennis pros, swimmers, Olympians, soccer players, football, basketball, and baseball players may be the most popular group of people using this form of therapy, just about anyone can benefit from this type of massage. If you work out at home, go to the gym, or participate in any type of activity involving some type of exercise, you will ALSO benefit from a Sports Massage. Believe it or not, professional bowlers, dart players, and pool players across the globe use some type of sports massage as a weekly regimen.
Where and how is Sports Massage administered?
Sport massages are usually performed while the person is on a massage table, massage chair, or on an exercise mat on the ground with clothes on. The speed (rhythm) is typically fast and vigorous while focusing on a precise muscle group. A professional therapist will normally add stretch techniques (known as passive/active stretch and Neuromuscular Re-Education) to the major muscle groups of the arms, legs, head/neck, and back depending on the type of activity or sport that is being played by the individual. A sports massage can be stimulating, it can be relaxing, or it can be a relief from pain. It is not a cure for every sports-related injury however, it has its place and it has been helping athletes reach their peak practice and performance levels for several years.
Common conditions include:
- Back Pain or Tension
- Chronic Pain
- Joint immobility
- Muscle cramping
- Neck Pain
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Skeletal problems
- Sports Injuries
- Pre-event preparation