Massage for Men

Sports Massage – An Introduction

Whilst it does have some aims in common with other forms of massage therapy, the usual experience in conventional massage is to aim to restore the normal function when someone is injured. But in sporta there is no ‘normal’ and athletes are always looking to improve and gain a competitive edge. Most athletes aim to reach a level of performance they can never achieve.

A Sports Massage therapist has great potential to assist the athlete to become better, rather than merely normal. In striving to be better, the athlete attempts to systematically increase the level of training and thereby subjecting the body to gradual and controlled overuse. This overuse can often create imbalances and problems in the soft tissues, which if ignored may become chronic. Clearly this may hinder the athlete’s performance and/or rate of improvement. Sports Massage can become a key ingredient in an athlete’s success and this is why top competitors incorporate it as an integral part of their training regime.

So what is Sports Massage? McGillicuddy(1) defines massage for sports as “the specific application of massage techniques, hydrotherapy protocols, range of motion/flexibility protocol and strength-training principles utilized to achieve a specific goal when treating athletes”. He considers that there are three principles that are vital to understanding what type of Sports Massage to apply to an athlete at any given time.

These principles are:

· Timing
· Technique and
· Intent

The timing of when massage for sports is related to when the massage is applied, is it pre-event or post-event, during a maintenance period or possibly post-injury when rehabilitation is required. The technique refers to what massage/stretching/strengthening methods the therapists employs to attempt to achieve the intent, the desired outcome.

The intent of pre-event massage is to warm up the muscles and to get blood flowing through the muscles. The massage techniques generally used are petrissage, vibration, percussion, compression, muscle broadening strokes, etc. With post-event massage, the intent is assist in the recovery process by increasing venous and lymphatic circulation to assist with removal of metabolic by-products and thereby decreasing muscle soreness so that the athlete can return to full training faster. The massage techniques would include effleurage, compression, petrissage, passive movements and light stretching. The intent of maintenance massage is to keep the athletes muscles and tissue in optimum condition and is generally scheduled at a regular frequency (be it weekly or fortnightly), closely married to the athlete’s training program.

Thus Sports Massage is not about going deep nor it is learning one technique. The requirement for the therapist is to apply the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time, which takes education, skill and experience.

Sports Massage 101 – Best Benefits of Sports Massage

Massage therapy is popularly known to reduce anxiety, tension, and pain. And yes, it just feels good, right? Massage’s potential is so much greater than being just relaxing. Athletes often require this kind of therapy in order to complete their training regime as well as improve their performance. “Sports massage” is a specific branch of the overall world of sports medicine. Specific techniques utilize deep muscle manipulation that aid in the elimination of toxins in the muscle tissue. These techniques fall somewhere between Shiatsu and Swedish styles of massage. Sports massage falls into two categories: pre-event or post-even massage.

For those receiving pre-event treatment, it’s best to keep to within two days of the sports event. The idea is to stimulate nutrient and blood flow to the muscle tissue. Physiological relaxation is a side effect of massage, encouraging mental confidence as well. Pre-event massage often has the effect of improving warm-ups, stretching and manipulating muscles. This improves circulation, which can reduce chances of injury.

Post-performance massage is a bit different, in that it is fast and direct. It lasts 10 – 15 minutes on average, and focuses right on particular areas affected by the sport in question. Compression techniques are the primary techniques of use, with compressive and petrissage techniques as well. The intention is that muscle tension is ease, and muscle recovery speeds up with fewer muscle spasms. The goal is to achieve full range of motion as soon as possible. It’s common that serious sports teams retain an on-site chair masseuse to make sure sports massage can happen as needed during competition.

Like all massage, sports massage incorporates the physical, psychological, and physiological to achieve system balance. With massage for pain management, it’s pretty easy to see where the physical effects come from; however, there are other benefits as well. Lactic acid and other waste is ferreted more quickly out of the system, and massage promotes improved circulation. Scare tissues break down faster, and athletes see an improvement in muscle elasticity. Then, people see increased blood flow to various muscles.

Sports massage has great benefits for serious athletes looking for that “something extra.” Pre and post massage techniques each encourage different benefits. Massage therapists help athletes reduce their chances of injury, increase muscle elasticity, and reduce the time to recovery. Massage therapy will benefit any sports training routine. Check with your trainers and your massage therapist to bring massage into your regular exercise routine.