What is Sports Massage? Who can benefit from it and why.
Sports massage is one of the numerous types of massages designed specifically to treat musculoskeletal injuries and pain; is a form of treatment specifically designed for soft tissues injuries and is commonly performed on athletes by certified Sports Massage therapist but is also widely used as therapeutic treatment in non-sports contexts.
It is also known as manual therapy since it involves the manual application of pressure to knead the affected muscles. Pressure on the body is generally applied using hands, other body parts, such as the elbows, forearms and knees can also be used. To some degree, it also involves manipulation and mobilisation of joints. Aside from treating physical trauma by targeting specific aches and pain, this type of massage also helps to prevent or to reduce chances of injuries, enhance the performance of muscles, and boost overall athletic performance.
Types of sports massage in a sports context are generally classified based on when the treatment is performed:
- PRE-EVENT, when massage is done within an hour before a game or activity is due to start: Is a short and specific treatment given immediately before (30 minutes- 24 hours before) and it can be applied a few minutes before a post event. The goal of massage is to increase your circulation, flexibility and mental clarity to improve your performance.
- INTER-EVENT, when performed on those who need to rest in between games:Is delivered between event and usually days or hours apart, the intra event massage happens within the event itself, usually within the space of hours or even minutes.-
- POST-EVENT, performed when the athlete cools down: is administered immediately after the event or competition , a post event massage is designed to aid the athlete in recovering from the activity, flush out the lactic acid buildup and reduce post exercise soreness; and re-establish range of motion and blood flow to tight muscles.
- RESTORATIVE TREATMENT, when performed during rest days.
Benefits of Sports Massage
As we have already seen, Sports Massage can be applied to almost anybody and not necessary in competitive and sports environments. There are many benefits coming from this specific treatment, let’s see what they are.
Relaxation: Sports massage activates the parasympathetic system which is responsible for the inner workings of your body as mentioned above. Lots of benefits happen when we relax, many of which are listed below).
Stress relief: The body does not function properly when under stress. Massage reduces the production of stress hormones running through your body. This is very important to reduce unwanted injury and illness.
Improved circulation: By relaxing your muscles your blood supply increases allowing nutrients to be delivered to your muscles. Also allowing the body to remove any unwanted build up from the muscles.
Reduced blood pressure: Less stress, less tension and a more efficient vascular system.
Reduced muscle soreness: that terrible pain known as DOMS (Delayed onset of muscle soreness) the reason why you can’t move properly a day or two after a workout. Similar to the above reason waste products will be flushed from your muscles and the muscle tissue will relax helping them repair and in less pain.
Feel good: Massage will release those wonderful chemicals called ‘Endorphins’. They make us feel better and reduce our pain.
Reduced injury time: Massage allows injured muscles, tendons and ligaments to heal in the right way. It guides the growing new tissue ensuring a quality repair and reduces any unwanted scar tissue and less time out of action.
More movement: Massage increases the movement of your joints by lengthening and stretching out your muscles. It also increases the synovial fluid inside the joints. We all make sure our cars have enough oil in it to run smoothly, it’s the same thing, very important or both cease up! Smooth, pain free movement.
Improve your performance: For those active and sporty ones out there massage will help increase your performance. Well-kept muscles will allow you to run faster, jump higher, swim further, walk longer, lift heavier, or improve that golf swing. You get the picture. Whatever your activity or sport you will benefit.