Sports Massage

 

Sports massage is a blanket term for the type of massage used to help athletes with training and performance. A sports massage can be applied before, during, or after the sporting event and can focus on different muscles or muscle groups depending on the sport in question. The beauty of sports massage therapy is that it can be used to focus on the muscle or groups of muscles the athlete uses on a regular basis which makes it highly adaptable to any sport or activity.

Sports massage can be utilized for many purposes including the promotion of flexibility and prevention of injuries, relief from muscle strains, and the promotion of healing after an injury.[1] Indeed, both the mental and practical benefits of massage make it very popular among athletes of all types and skill levels.[2]

As sports massage is applicable to such a broad range of muscle and joint movements, demands on the body, and types of injuries, the massage modalities commonly used to provide a sports massage vary as well.  Popular modalities for a sports massage include these: Deep Swedish Massage, Compression Massage, Cross-Fiber Massage, Trigger Point or Tender Point Massage, and Lymphatic Massage. [3]

The regular use of sports massage in a training regimen can provide several benefits to both practice and performance situations. Possible benefits sports massage provides include these: reducing the chance of injury; improving flexibility in muscles and range of motion; shortening recovery time between workouts; and increasing blood flow and helping to eliminate the metabolic by-products of exercise. [4]

If you’re looking for a way to step up your workout program, or a solution for nagging injuries or passing that next plateau, talk to your doctor or massage therapist about sports massage.

If you’re interested in becoming a massage therapist that specializes in sports massage, any accredited massage therapy school will provide you with the training you need to get started.  However most of your training is going to take place after your school training has finished.  There are many continuing education classes you can take for the latest techniques but you’ll need to get your hands oily to become a true sports massage specialist.  No, you can’t start working for a team in the Tour De France but once you’re certified you can volunteer at  a local road race or 5K run.  Also call local amateur soccer, football and baseball teams they are typically short on funds but have plenty of sore muscles to go around.



[1] webMD website. Last accessed April 22, 2012. http://www.webmd.com/balance/massage-therapy-styles-and-health-benefits?page=2

[2] Holistic Online website. Last accessed April 22, 2012. http://www.holistic-online.com/massage/mas_sports.htm

[3] Holistic Online website. Last accessed April 22, 2012. http://www.holistic-online.com/massage/mas_sports.htm

[4] Holistic Online website. Last accessed April 22, 2012. http://www.holistic-online.com/massage/mas_sports.htm