Sports Massage for Athletic Performance
Having met so many sports enthusiasts around the world from professional to weekend warriors, novice to elite, young or old since I started my massage career or even before, the one mutual goal to all, would be to achieve their goals no matter what they are.
As a keen distance runner myself, massage therapy has played a very important part of my training over the past decade, so let me tell you a little bit of the insights about “Sports Massage” that would be a help to achieve your next sporting goal!As a keen distance runner myself, massage therapy has played a very important part of my training. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet
What is Sports Massage
Massage can be defined as the manipulations of the body to achieve a therapeutic goal. The goals may include pain relief, restoration of normal function, stress relief or even relaxation. “Sports Massage” is a more specific term to describe the science and art of applying massage and related techniques to ensure health and wellbeing of the athlete and to enhance athletic performance.
Sports massage has no differing techniques to those applied in other therapeutic massage. The only difference between other therapeutic massage and sports massage is the GOAL. The overall goal of sports massage is to enhance athletic performance and so the massage techniques are specifically applied to promote that goal for that particular athlete, for that event, in that sport and at that particular time.The only difference between other therapeutic massage and sports massage is the GOAL. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet
Why athletes should have sports massage
Sports massage is not a quick fix that can instantly improve performance but it can optimise performance factors, decrease injury potential and support soft tissue healing.
Here are some of the effects of sports massage
- Improved fluid circulation
- Muscular relaxation
- Separation of muscle and connective tissue
- Formation of healthy scar tissue
- Deactivation of trigger points
- Anxiety reduction
- Greater energy
- Free movement at joints
- Faster recovery
- Pain reduction
- More positive outlook and motivation
When to have Sports Massage and How it can help you perform better
Sports massage can be used prior to the training to prepare for the efforts that must undergo or after the training to aid recovery and prepare for the next training sessions.
- Relieve abnormal muscle contraction → Increased muscle efficiency
- Increase blood flow → Improved movement
- Improve flexibility → Reduced risk of injury
This is probably the most commonly used as a regular “maintenance” massage as well throughout the training periods. After gentle warm-up strokes, deep penetrating techniques can be used followed by a vigorous diffused massage. Deep penetrating techniques include trigger point release and frictions, which may cause discomfort and soreness. Stretching to the affected muscles can be included in the treatment. However, this type of massage should not be prescribed within 48 hours of sporting competition.
This is applied prior to the competition. The purpose of getting pre-event massage is to give muscles moderate level of arousal. The most important thing though is an athlete doesn’t get over or under aroused which may cause a lack of concentration leading to vital mistakes or may make slow or delayed decisions or decrease the speed of the event.
Pre-event massage usually includes a combination of compression, petrissage (kneading), tapotement (percussion), vibration, joint mobilisation and stretching to all muscle groups that will be used most in the upcoming event.
- Duration of 15-20 mins
- Upbeat tempo
- Avoiding causing pain/discomfort
- Concentrating in major muscle groups used in the upcoming performance
- Adjusting for mental and emotional readiness
This is used when an athlete is required to compete several times during a one or two day period, over several days or even during intermission of a game. Inter-event massage combines aspects of pre-event and post-event massage applications as the athlete is recovering from a performance but preparing for the next at the same time.Inter-event massage combines aspects of pre-event and post-event massage applications. #performbetter @pogophysio Click To Tweet
Inter-event massage is normally short and light, however it depends on when the next performance is, and individual requirement of the athlete.
- Duration of 10-15 mins (If the event is hours away or the next day the duration may be longer)
- Focusing on the recovery of the muscle groups being used
- Relaxing specific areas of tension from the preceding performance
- Adjusting for mental and emotional readiness
- May be deep but not painful
Sports massage given within four hours after an event is focused on physical, mental and emotional recovery. During post-event massage, injuries and other problems may be identified, evaluated, and referred for diagnosis if warranted. Minor injuries receive first aid or treatment when appropriate.
After athletes cooled down to a normal heart rate with an active recovery such as jog/stretch, and restore fluid and electrolyte balance, post-event massage can be used in order to enhance recovery process.
- Duration of 10-15 mins if it is soon after the event, or 30 plus minutes if it is an hour or more after the event
- Featuring lighter pressure especially closer to the event time
- Giving specific attention to muscles stressed in performance
- Deeply applying clearing techniques such as palmar stroking to encourage venous and lymphatic return
- Including first aid if necessary
- Including referrals for injuries or conditions as required
By adding regular massage into your training schedule will be a big difference on your X-day result. Schedule massage ahead as you schedule your training sessions! I’ve got a terrific deal “Get more massage for your money” You book 3 massages and 3rd massage gets a FREE 30 minutes upgrade! You can use this offer as many times you want!!
Accredited Remedial Massage Therapist