16 May 2023
If you are an athlete or a physically active person, you may have heard of sports massage therapy. But what exactly is it and how can it help you improve your performance and recovery? In this blog post, we will explain what sports massage therapy is, what are its benefits, and what to expect from a session.
Sports massage therapy is a type of massage that focuses on the soft tissues of the body that are involved in athletic activities. It uses various techniques such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, stretching, and compression to manipulate the muscles, fascia, tendons, and ligaments. The goal of sports massage therapy is to enhance the function and health of these tissues, prevent injuries, reduce pain and inflammation, and promote relaxation and well-being.
Sports massage therapy can be applied before, during, or after an athletic event or training session. Depending on the purpose and timing of the massage, it can have different effects on the body. For example:
• Pre-event sports massage: This type of massage is done shortly before an athletic event to warm up the muscles, increase blood flow, stimulate the nervous system, and prepare the body for optimal performance. It usually lasts 15 to 45 minutes and focuses on the specific areas that will be used in the activity.
• Inter-event sports massage: This type of massage is done during breaks or intervals of an athletic event to maintain the performance level, prevent fatigue, reduce muscle tension, and address any minor injuries or problems that may arise. It usually lasts 10 to 15 minutes and focuses on the most stressed areas of the body.
• Post-event sports massage: This type of massage is done shortly after an athletic event to cool down the muscles, remove metabolic waste products, reduce muscle soreness and stiffness, restore range of motion, and prevent delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It usually lasts 30 to 60 minutes and focuses on the whole body or the most affected areas.
• Maintenance sports massage: This type of massage is done regularly between athletic events or training sessions to maintain the health and function of the soft tissues, correct any imbalances or dysfunctions, improve flexibility and mobility, and prevent chronic injuries. It usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes and focuses on the individual needs and goals of the athlete.
Sports massage therapy has many benefits for athletes and physically active people. Some of them are:
• It improves blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the muscles, which enhances their performance and recovery.
• It reduces muscle tension and spasm, which relieves pain and discomfort.
• It stimulates the lymphatic system and helps eliminate toxins and waste products from the body, which reduces inflammation and swelling.
• It relaxes the nervous system and reduces stress and anxiety, which improves mental focus and mood.
• It increases joint range of motion and flexibility, which prevents injuries and improves movement efficiency.
• It promotes tissue healing and regeneration, which speeds up recovery from injuries and prevents scar tissue formation.
If you are interested in trying sports massage therapy, here are some things to expect from a session:
• Before the session: You will be asked about your medical history, current health condition, athletic goals, preferences, and expectations. The therapist will also assess your posture, movement patterns, muscle tone, joint mobility, and pain levels. Based on this information, the therapist will design a customized treatment plan for you.
• During the session: You will be asked to undress to your level of comfort and lie on a massage table covered with a sheet or towel. The therapist will use oil or lotion to glide their hands over your skin. They will apply different techniques such as stroking, kneading, rubbing, tapping, stretching, compressing, or holding pressure points on your body. They will also communicate with you throughout the session to check your comfort level and feedback. The session will last according to your needs and goals.
• After the session: You will be asked to drink plenty of water to hydrate yourself and flush out toxins from your body. You may also feel some soreness or stiffness in your muscles for a day or two after the session. This is normal and indicates that your body is healing itself. You can apply ice or heat to ease any discomfort. You should also avoid any strenuous activity for at least 24 hours after the session to allow your body to recover fully.
Sports massage therapy is a great way to improve your physical and mental well-being as an athlete or a physically active person. It can help you perform better, recover faster, prevent injuries, and enjoy your activity more. If you want to experience the benefits of sports massage therapy yourself, book an appointment with a qualified and experienced sports massage therapist near you today!