Sports massage is the application of multiple techniques used to help maintain health and enhance athletic performance. This helps athletes of all levels prevent injuries, gain flexibility, work through injuries, and recover from sports events. There are a variety of reasons one may seek out a sports massage because it works on many levels (i.e., physical, mental, emotional, social) and this makes it a very useful in treating the athlete as a whole. There are three major ways sports massage helps increase performance in athletes:
Optimizes positive performance factors while minimizing negative ones.
Decreases injury potential.
Supports soft tissue healing.
Depending on the goals of the athlete will determine the techniques used during the session. Some examples may be: Stretching- To help improve flexibility and range of motion. Cross Fiber Friction- This technique works to break down knots and adhesions as well as repair damage to tears and scar tissue by helping properly align soft tissue. Swedish Massage- Applying Swedish massage helps improve circulation of new blood to areas of injury and can help ease anxieties that come with athletic performance. Myofascial Release- Involves 3 to 5 minute holds on areas of tension or restrictions that can cause chronic pain. Lymphatic Drainage- Reduces any swelling and possibilities of secondary injury caused by the buildup of pressure from increased fluid in an area that is damaged. Direct Pressure- This technique involves applying deep direct pressure to an area of tension until the muscle starts to relax.
Benefits of Sports Massage
Massage is beneficial for any type of person for multiple reasons. However, sports massage can be extremely beneficial for those with active life styles. Sports massage can help with:
Reduce muscle tension
Promote blood flow
Increases range of motion
Decreases symptoms of DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness)
Helps prevent injury when used regularly by athletes
• Fever • Acute Traumas - Open wounds, recent bruising, muscle tears, sprained ligaments, contusions, chilblains, burns • Tumours - Where there is swelling, which is inconsistent with recent bruising • Diseased blood vessels - Varicose veins, phlebitis, thrombosis • Cancer • Melanoma • Haemophilia • Infectious skin disease - Bacterial infection, Lymphangitis, Fungal infection, Viral infections, Herpes • Where your symptoms appear to make advice from a doctor advisable • Diabetes - not strictly a contraindication but massage has the same effect as exercise on your blood sugar levels so you need to have appropriate medication available