You wouldn’t be off-base to assume that sports massage is used exclusively for athletes, although that is not exactly the case. A sports massage can be beneficial to many people experiencing an injury or chronic pain, it just so happens that most of those people are athletes, which led to the name of sports massage.
What is a Sports Massage?
A sports massage borrows techniques from other types of massage therapy in order to treat specific injuries and pain. The most common techniques are taken from Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue massage. Sports massage was designed to aid in all aspects of sport, which is why there is more than one type of sports massage that you can get depending on what kind of pain you have and if you need to continue training.
One of the great things about sports massage is that it can be applied to any particular injury instead of a whole area or the whole body. This will give the best results at clearing up a particular issue.
Types of Sports Massage Therapy
Note that the following descriptions are in terms of sports events. If you aren’t in training for a sport just try to use the description to figure out which one applies best to your situation.
Before Training/Playing – By stimulating the area of injury you can minimize further damage to it when training. This massage usually takes place pretty close to the actual game/practice, anywhere from 10-60 minutes before.
After Training/Playing – Whenever you train with an injury you will do more damage to the area, even if you minimize it. Sports massage therapy after training can help prevent any scar tissue from forming and will stimulate the lymphatic system to help clear out waste and bring in nutrients to repair the area.
During Training/Playing – While it isn’t very common, massage can be done during training or a competition. In particular you see this a lot in basketball and American football where players have breaks in-between. This is very important for players if they plan on playing while injured to minimize the risk of getting hurt worse. This can also be used during long training sessions to help the athlete train harder and longer.
Rehabilitative – This type applies more than any other type of sports massage to athletes and nonathletes alike. A rehabilitative massage will typically work on breaking down any damaged tissue or re-aligning any misaligned layers of tissue.
Sports Massage Benefits
Healing Injuries – The obvious benefit and goal of sports massage, like any massage therapy is to heal injuries. Sports massage is a very specialized massage and can help with a wide array of soft tissue injuries.
Preventing Injuries – When used properly before training, as mentioned above, sports massage can help prepare your body for the upcoming traumas it faces. Similarly, when used after training it accelerates the healing process, so you can be at 100% your next training session. These types of massage can be very beneficial even if you don’t have an injury.
Increase Flexibility – Scar tissue is a very brittle tissue that accumulates over time. Sports massage can break down scar tissue and replace it with healthy tissue which will be more flexible.
Lymph/Circulation Improvement – As with many types of massage stimulation to an area will help the lymphatic system and your circulation. This comes with many benefits, mainly the more efficient transport of waste and nutrients.
If you still have questions on what to expect with sports massage therapy make sure to leave a comment below!