Sporting Bounce
Posted 05/12/2022 in Category 1

Everything You Need to Know About Sports Massage

Everything You Need to Know About Sports Massage

Athletes commonly experience injuries when they fail to warm up or overtrain. Research shows that muscular imbalances, trauma, poor flexibility, inadequate endurance, and mineral deficiencies can also cause sports injuries. 

Poor muscle tone and insufficient strength in musculoskeletal structures can also lead to severe injuries, preventing athletes from carrying out their day-to-day tasks and sports activities. Although medications can relieve discomfort, inflammation, pain resulting from sports injuries, they can cause side effects. 

On the other hand, sports massage is a reliable, safe, preventative, and treatment option that uses specific strokes to help an athlete achieve improved physical conditioning and maximum performance. A 2020 research study highlights that sports massage aims to increase endurance, power, energy levels, mobility, and range of motion before and after exercise or event. 

In addition, sports massage can help an athlete training for an event. It also allows people who routinely stretch physical limits through movement. Tennis players, runners, weight lifters, ballplayers, golfers, skaters, boxers, musicians, dancers, etc., benefit from sports massage. Read on! 


Sports Massage Techniques 

Various techniques are used in sports massage, including stretching, strengthening, and range-of-motion techniques. Each method has its unique features, allowing athletes to achieve a specific health goal. 

Effleurage 

Effleurage is a commonly used technique in sports massage that requires the therapist to use the palm of the hand to make circular and stroking movements. Depending on the athlete's skin type and condition, the therapist may use light or firm effleurage. 

There are numerous benefits of effleurage massage for athletes and sportspeople. These include increased blood circulation, muscle relaxation, and lymphatic system stimulation. The purpose is to increase blood flow to muscles and provide nutrients/oxygen to the injured structures. That way, effleurage massage speeds up the healing process. 

Petrissage 

Petrissage is a highly effective massage technique that stretches, kneads, and squeezes soft tissues and muscles. The primary objective of petrissage massage is to lift ways tissues from musculoskeletal structures to relieve pressure on muscles. 

At the same time, it loosens muscles fibers and creates flexibility. The massage technique stimulates an athlete's skin and streamlines lymphatic and vascular responses. Make sure you hire the services of a qualified sports massage therapist to achieve your goals. 

Friction

Friction is another commonly used massage technique that increases blood circulation to muscles and soothes tightened tissues around joints, tendons, and ligaments. The massage involves applying pressure to a specific body part through the fingertips. 

In addition, friction massage is an integral part of athletes' rehabilitation process, helping them improve healing and reduce the risk of further complications. Not only does friction massage treat adhesions, but it also realigns scar tissue back into normal form.

Compression

Compression requires a massage therapist to lie their hands over a specific muscle or group of muscles and push down onto the tissues. The therapist then lifts the hand and repeats the process in another body area. The compression pressure ranges between light and very deep, depending on the injury and skin type. 

Moreover, compressions can speed up the healing process by providing essential nutrients and oxygenated blood to damaged tissues. That's why it is a vital part of the injury healing process for athletes. 

Vibration 

Vibration is an effective sports massage technique that decreases pressure on muscles, relieves tension and discomfort, stimulates nerves, and increases blood circulation. A qualified therapist uses vibrations at a slower pace to promote relaxation by loosening tight muscles. 

Tapotement

Tapotement involves patting soft tissue structures to soothe body muscles and accelerate healing. The technique also involves rhythmic tapping of muscular structures, leading to adequate warm-up before a sports event. Besides, it stimulates reflex muscular contraction, optimizes nerve endings' functions, and increases blood flow to muscles. 


How is Sports Massage Administered?

Choosing a qualified, licensed, and experienced sports massage therapist is worth it. A professional therapist performs the massage in a quiet, serene, and warm environment away from excessive noise and bright lights. 

The purpose is to ensure the athlete feels more relaxed. Likewise, a comfortable environment enables the therapist to focus better on the technique. The therapist also uses various lubricants to ensure their hands slide easily over the body and reduce friction. 

Some sportspeople do not prefer lubricants before a sports event. In that case, the therapist uses a towel as a medium between him/her and the athlete. The therapist uses towels to drape body areas that don't require massage. 

Towels also help wipe off excess lubricant once the therapist completes the massage. Sports massage is a regular part of high-performing athlete's training programs. Because athletes have various massage needs at different times, the three basic sports massage categories are: 

Pre-Event 

Massage before a sports event is a quick treatment that involves rhythmic pumping, allowing an athlete to warm up. It increases blood circulation, flexibility, and range of motion, reducing soreness and muscle pain. That way, the muscles are ready for action. 

Remember, pre-event sports massage also prevents muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries while reducing the strain and discomfort of training. Pre-event massage is also beneficial for the emotional wellbeing of the athlete, empowering them to have a psychological advantage in competition. 

Post-Event 

Recovery after a sports event involves the normalization and repair of muscles, tissues, and other musculoskeletal structures. It also provides general relaxation and psychological calming. In addition, post-event massage increases blood flow to the muscles, speeds up the removal of fatigue toxins, prevents soreness, and relieves muscle spasms. 

The increased blood flow to the brain trigger serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins production, promoting relaxation, relieving inflammation in muscles, and eliminating pain. Sports massage also assists athletes in recovery and regaining their pre-event condition by soothing fatigued and right muscles, ligaments, and tendons. 

Training 

Sports massage prevents injuries throughout training or rigorous athletic activity. Stressful and repetitive motion can result in areas of muscular stress and trigger precursors of injury/wounds and inflammation. 

Sports massage relieves muscular stress and prevents injuries, enabling athletes to perform harder and consistent training. As a result, athletes perform well in the competition. 

Moreover, adequate recovery is a primary factor in avoiding minor and major injuries. Effective and quick rehabilitation promotes overall health and wellbeing, maximizing athletic performance. 


Final Words 

Pre-event, post-event, training, and regular sports massage is more than a reward for athletes. It is a holistic health approach and a powerful tool for keeping athletes ready and primed for maximum performance. 

We believe sports massage plays a vital role in lengthening athletes' careers. Sports massage is a critical part of regular training and maintenance programs widely used by athletes, teams, and Olympians. Until Next Time! 


Image by Angelo Esslinger from Pixabay


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