The main aim of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which can occur up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. This therapy is not just for the sports person, anyone can benefit from sports massage, including people in physically demanding jobs and those not quite so obvious (occupational, emotional and postural stress may produce many similar characteristics to sports injuries).
Sports massage tends to be deeper and more intense. It is based on the various elements of Swedish massage and often incorporates a combination of other techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, toning, and trigger point response techniques similar to Acupressure and Shiatsu.
Benefits and Effects
There are three areas where sports massage is used to benefit athletes.
A regular massage treatment programme based on the therapist’s understanding of anatomy and of the muscles used in a given sport and which are likely candidates for trouble. By concentrating on particular muscle groups the therapist can help the athlete maintain or improve range of motion and muscle flexibility.
Pre-event and post-event massage therapies are tailored for distinct purposes. Pre-event treatment is used as a supplement to an athlete’s warm-up to enhance circulation and reduce excess muscle and mental tension prior to competition. It is tailored to the needs of the athlete and his/her event and can be relaxing or stimulating as appropriate. Post-event massage, on the other hand, is geared towards reducing the muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with rigorous exercise.