sports massage

Sports Massage – Preventing Injury and Enhancing Performance

Sports massage focuses on the individual need of the athlete and is used before, during, and after athletic events.

The purpose of sports massage is to prepare the athlete for peak performance. It alleviates muscle stress and tension, relieves swelling, drains away fatigue, promotes flexibility and prevents injury.

Aiding recovery and enhancing performance, whether you are an athlete or an occasional sports person, sports massage helps you perform to the best of your ability.

How Sports Massage Differs From Other Types of Massage

Continued overuse of the body which occurs from systematically increasing levels of training can cause minor injuries and lesions, causing imbalances in the soft tissues.

Massage has been used for many years as a healing therapy and benefits the body as a whole in a number of ways.

Sports massage works predominantly to alleviate the build up of stress and tension which occurs in the soft tissues of the body during physical activity. The approach may differ depending on the area of concern to be addressed.

Depending on the athlete’s need, the technique may involve a blend of Swedish massage and shiatsu. Three main strokes are used in sports massage. These include:

o Effleurage:

Gliding strokes with the palms, fingertips and thumbs usually carried out at the beginning and end of a sports massage session.

o Petrissage:

Kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and fingers used on deeper tissues to induce relaxation, stretch muscle fibres and mobilize fluids.

o Friction:

Circular pressure with the palms, thumbs and fingers. Used primarily for exploratory purposes or for deeper more painful movements, this stroke breaks down lesions and recent scar tissue and separates muscle fibres. Friction should only be used for short periods as longer periods can cause irritation and inflammation.

How is Sports Massage Used?
Sports massage can involve prevention, maintenance and rehabilitation and is used:-

o pre-event: aimed at decreasing injury and improving performance;

o inter-event: helping the athlete recover and prepare for the next event;

o post-event: focusing on tissue normalization and repair, promoting mental and physical relaxation.

What are the Benefits of Sports Massage?

The continual build up of tension from overuse can stress the joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

Resulting muscle imbalances, if untreated, can lead to discomfort and impede performance.

Sports massage benefits the athlete in many ways and is very affective for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system helping athletes prevent injuries.

It is also beneficial for:-

o reducing muscle tension

o improving flexibility

o improving blood circulation & lymphatic flow

o reducing heart rate and blood pressure

o relieving pain

o assisting in the removal of metabolic waste

o sedating or stimulating nerve endings

o increasing/decreasing muscle tone and length

o assists in mental preparation

Is Sports Massage Safe?

Sports massage is relatively safe. However, as with all massage therapies there are times when sports massage could be detrimental rather than beneficial to you.

You should not receive sports massage if any of the following is present:-

o cancer

o melanoma

o haemophilia

o varicose veins, phlebitis, thrombosis

o tumours – where there is swelling, which is inconsistent with recent bruising.

o open wounds, recent bruising, muscle tears, sprained ligaments, contusions, chilblains, burns.

o infectious skin disease, bacterial infection, lymphangitis, fungal and viral infections

If in any doubt, it is advisable to consult your physician before receiving sports massage and in particular if you feel unwell, have a high temperature or have any symptoms that may require medical advice.

Why Have a Sports Massage?

Massage is now considered an integral part of most professional athletics regimes. Sport coaches and high performing athletes alike are of the belief that massage provides an extra edge.

Including regular sports massage into your conditioning program can have physiological and psychological benefits resulting in improved power and performance.

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.

Winter Sports Massage Therapy – Your Body’s Kneads

If you participate in winter sports, your body can benefit from sports massage therapy. Interestingly, the average skier or snowboarder, or other winter sports “athlete” is not an athlete. If you are the typical “weekend warrior”, enjoying your winter sport for fun and recreation, then your massage needs will differ from a competitive athlete’s needs.

Snow is settling on high Colorado peaks. Folks are getting anxious to play their favorite winter sports. These include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe hiking, cross-country and telemark skiing, and others.

Your muscles on slopes.

As you start to play, your muscles react to the new challenge. New workloads can leave you sore. Sometimes you “feel the burn” as you cruise down a long trail. Sometimes the soreness is not felt for up to 3 days after strenuous activity. This type is called delayed-onset muscle soreness.

Unlike competitive athletes, soreness can have a much greater impact on the adventures of recreational athletes. If you enjoy your sports while on vacation or on random weekends, your muscles may be in different stages of conditioning throughout the winter.

Sports massage styles and your needs.

Sports massage is often misunderstood as a massage style just for competitive athletes. It is also commonly mistaken for Deep Tissue and massage of intense pressure. However, sports massage depends on the conditioning of the muscles that experience it!

Sports massage will involve firmer pressure when athletes are in training for an event, but not when the event date is approaching soon.

However, since deep bodywork is not advised when a recreational athlete has recently finished their activity, firm sports massage will be applied less often during typical winter sports!

A trained, certified sports massage therapist learns your muscles’ needs and applies techniques accordingly. If you just ripped down a half-pipe on your snowboard, and your quads and arms ache with “over-endorphinating”, then your skilled sports massage therapist will use relaxing strokes and loosening stretches. They may use gentle pressure and a slower pace.

Other styles of massage that relax muscles and loosen joints after activity include:

* Thai, also known as Thai-Yoga

* Hot stone, or “Contrast” with both hot and cold stones

* Relaxing Swedish

As you ascend to your favorite endorphin highs this winter, enjoy sports massage. The right style of sports massage can prepare your body for greater adventures!

Schools For Sports Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is widely accepted as a wonderful remedy for many health related issues. Massage helps in rejuvenating tissues,equip skins to fight aging, relieves tension and also making the blood circulatory system sound and healthy. Sports  massage therapy is one of the field which is intended to provide the wonderful effects of massaging therapy to the sport people to improve their stamina and vitality. There are many schools for sports massaging therapy.

Sports massage is very essential for an athlete as it improves the blood circulation and hence enhances the vitality; physical ability to undergo training, helps to prevent injury and also improves the performance of the sports personal. Added to all the above it makes the body fit by removing fat contents, unnecessary waste deposits and also the massaging rejuvenates the tissues with the use of antioxidants and the required nutrients for the skin and body. The sports massaging will give the athletes a feeling of physical well-being, and also increases the mental strength in facing the challenging competition with ease and free of injury. It improves significantly the stamina of the sports people and brings an energetic and enjoyable condition in their sports life.

Sports Massage Schools are offering service to the fitness professionals to bring smile into the faces of sports personals by stimulating the coronary circulation and also by relieving stress. This will help athletes to keep tie physical fitness at the peak and also help them to avoid future injuries.

The Sports Massage Schools conduct classes for specific techniques of massaging which effectively uses various skills namely smooth movements for stretching, compressing and gliding. The main objective of sports massaging is the maintenance of healthy tissues, manipulation of them and the rehabilitation of soft tissues. The sports massaging instructions are taught in these schools in a very professional way. The curriculum covers the massaging techniques in general, sports massaging techniques in particular tailored to the well being of sports personals and athletes. This course also covers the precautions need to be taken in massaging therapy, the advantages of the sports massaging and also the disadvantages. The health benefits of the massaging, the general massaging remedies for strains and pains, the ways to improve the overall muscle strength and many skin-massaging techniques are also dealt in these schools of sports massage therapy. Also in sports massage schools students are equipped with detecting deep tissue damages and imbalances in the body. Also there will be lessons to correct these types of drawbacks in the physical body of the athlete.

Generally sports massage schools offer certificate courses lasting for 180 hours. The fees are very reasonable and the benefits from these schools are price worthy

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.

Sports Massage Information

Sports massage is a common approach used to aid in the prevention of sports related injuries as well as promote faster tissue repair post-activity. It is a kind of Swedish massage that stimulates the circulation of blood and lymph fluids throughout the body. The increased lymph liquid and blood circulation leads to more efficient removal of waste products from the body and better cell nutrition. It can also use the method of trigger point therapy to help break down any knots in the muscles.

These knots, called adhesions, can limit the range of motion of the muscle as well as make a more serious injury more common. Adhesions usually are the result of overuse of a sure area or muscle. The repetitive stress on the muscle may cause trauma and imbalances in the soft tissues. Massage can help break down these adhesions making a chronic condition less likely.

Sports massage can be helpful for plenty of common sports related injuries such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, hamstring strains, and groin strains. All of these afore mentioned injuries are soft tissue related. In case you have an injury that is orthopedic, or involving the bone, consult a physician for the proper treatment prior to getting a sports massage.

The techniques involved with it can be the same as a traditional massage. The main aim is to mobilize the tissue which can be achieved using any modality of massage. There may be more pressure than traditional Swedish massage to target the affected areas. There may even be more techniques involving repeated deep pressure to the tissues to break down the adhesions or soften scar tissue from a earlier injury. There are techniques that are designed to reduce the injury back to a state that the body can heal naturally.

All sports massage falls in to one or more of 4 categories. The first is the pre-event massage. Pre-event massage is usually a shorter massage that takes place 15-45 minutes before the event. This massage targets the specific areas of the body that will be involved in the exertion of the event. The second type of massage is the post-event massage. This is usually given within an hour or six of finishing the event. The aim of the post-event massage is to normalize the tissues that have been involved, thus diminishing the likelihood of tightness and soreness. Restorative massage is the third type or sports massage. This type of massage is given in the coursework of the training to permit the athlete to train harder with a lesser chance of injury. The fourth type of massage is Rehabilitative sports massage. The aim of this type of massage is to alleviate pain due to injury and return the body to a healthy state.

It is important to speak along with your massage therapist in detail when seeking them out for a sports massage. They ought to know the mechanics of the sport you are involved in as well as get a detailed history form you to make sure safety.

Therapeutic Sports Massage as Rehabilitation

Sports massage therapy can be highly beneficial to athletes who need to constantly perform at the pinnacle of their game. Such masters of the sports world often employ personal massage therapists because they are so pivotal in rehabilitation after a game, or before a game, loosening the body up in preparation for the physical exertion to come.

If a player has damaged tissue then the sports massage therapist can be optimized to aid in the bodies natural healing process. Therapeutic Sports Massage as Rehabilitation is most helpful with:

  • Oxidizing soft tissue with nutrients
  • Rehabilitating muscles and tendons
  • Removing waste from inside deep tissue

Sports massage is somewhat different from a normal spa massage because it is meant to delve deeper into the muscle and completely relax all of your tissue after having participated in extended high intensity action. Sports massage and spa massage do use essentially the same types of strokes and techniques. However, the sports massage therapist is putting more force into specific points of soreness.

Therapeutic sports massage could be ill advised because of the intense penetration into the bodies deeper tissue. If you have any of these physical attributes then sports massage is NOT recommended. You may need to have a discussion with your massage therapist beforehand if you have any medical conditions including:

  • Open wounds
  • Ruptures in muscles or tendons
  • Bursitis
  • Tumors
  • Artificial blood vessels

Therapeutic sports massage can be utilized in successful rehabilitation after a labored day on the playing field. Revitalizing deep within the body and allowing relaxation and rebuilding of an athletic body. Visiting with a sports massage therapist before a game is often quite beneficial as well. Fifteen to forty-five minutes before playing will begin to warm up the muscles that will be needed for peak performance. Even during training there is need for massage therapists to encourage injury prevention, help care for soft tissue and start training the muscles for aches and pain, which is common until they locate the correct position for the required physical implementation that is being placed upon them.

Sports massage therapists are an important part of every game. Rehabilitating athletes and the muscles, tendons and tissue that become damaged every time they compete. There is a highly sought-after market for sports massage therapists going on in the private, public, college and professional levels.

Anyone who is active needs to have access to a massage therapist in order to relieve soreness and avoid injury. Whether your 16 or 60 there are benefits to being healthy and with the aid of sports massage you can achieve the goals set fourth by yourself quicker and easier than thought possible.