Sports massage is an area of massage that has become increasingly popular in the last decade.
With athletes taking better care of themselves than ever before and a shift towards wellness and holistic health, sports massage can play an integral role in optimising performance, promoting relaxation, and aiding rest and recovery.
If you’re an athlete looking to improve results, or you’re interested in finding out more about sports massage, here’s an informative guide that will tell you everything you need to know about this innovative therapy.
Sports massage is a form of massage therapy, which is designed to benefit individuals who participate in physical activity on a regular basis.
Massage has been used to promote recovery and aid healing for centuries, but the concept of sports massage is relatively new.
This type of therapy has become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more athletes choosing to incorporate sports massage into their training regimes.
Sports massage utilises a range of massage techniques to manipulate the muscle tissue, and it can be used to prepare for competition, to condition the body and reduce the risk of injury, to accelerate the recovery process and to facilitate post-injury healing.
Sports massage provides a host of benefits for anyone who puts their body through the rigours of physical activity.
Although massage therapy is often associated with elite performers, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to take advantage of the benefits of sports massage.
There are two main categories to explore when it comes to the perks of regular massage sessions: these include physiological and psychological.
Physiological benefits are linked to the body’s response to massage therapy, while psychological advantages are related to the mind.
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Athletes prepare for events and competitions very carefully, and for an increasing number of participants, massage is an essential element of a pre-event regime.
Most people tend to opt to have a pre-event massage 48-72 hours before they compete.
A deep tissue massage is designed to release tension caused by training, to increase blood supply, and to warm up the muscles.
As the event looms, the intensity of massage sessions tends to diminish gradually. and a more relaxation style massage is done just before the even to warm the muscles.
Massage therapy should be combined with proven warm-up techniques and exercises to ensure the body is in peak condition before competition.
Some people also choose to have massages between training sessions or competitions.
If you’re used to competing in several events, or you have a quick turnaround between games, for example, you compete in heptathlons, or you play badminton, tennis, or netball, you might find inter-event massages useful.
These sessions are usually short and fairly light in terms of intensity.
They can help to give you an energy boost, to remove lactic acid, and to reduce the risk of pain.
After competing, athletes can benefit from a post-training massage, which is designed to boost recovery, repair, and regeneration.
Athletes should fully rehydrate and complete cool-down sessions before having a massage after training or competing.
In most cases, massages are recommended within 72 hours.
Massage therapy utilises manual techniques and movements to bring about positive effects on the body and mind.
When you have a massage, it will affect your muscles, and you should also notice that it has an impact on your mind.
Massage is known to trigger two main responses: a relaxation response and a mechanical response.
Although sports massage is often associated with deep tissue massage and intensive movement, massage therapy is proven to relax and make you feel calm.
The relaxation response is brought about by a drop in heart rate and stress levels, and it can help you recover after an event, reduce anxiety before training or competing, and clear your mind between sessions.
During and after a massage, you may find that you feel much more relaxed than you did before, and this helps you to adopt a positive mindset and keep stress at bay when you leave the massage table.
In terms of the body’s mechanical response, this is predominantly related to increasing circulation and improving the efficiency of the lymphatic system and by relaxing and releasing tension in the soft tissue.
Increasing circulation improves blood flow, which ensures that more oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to the muscles.
Targeting the lymphatic system improves waste product removal.
Relaxing the muscles can help to prevent pain, injuries and spasms and lower the risk of nerve compression.
Sports massage can offer benefits for all kinds of sports, and it can be rewarding for people who compete at all levels. Massage can be particularly beneficial for intensive activities that take their toll on the body, and for events that require you to recover quickly. Examples include:
Sports massage can be based on a variety of well-known massage types, including deep tissue and Swedish massage. Massage sessions tend to involve the following techniques:
If you’ve never had a sports massage before, and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, why not book your first massage today? You might be surprised at the difference even a single session can make.
Loved our sports massages after the Noosa Marathon.
Sarah and Matt were fantastic and really helped us post recovery.
Will definitely book you again next year!
5 out of 5
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Ripple Massage Day Spa And Beauty
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Author Biography – Ali Saoirse – BEc University Sydney, GradDipPsych Bond University, Diploma Remedial Massage, Certificate IV Massage, Level 7 Kahuna Massage, Qualifications in Pregnancy Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology from Gold Coast TAFE.