Sports massage is a type of massage that is specifically tailored to sporting injuries or ailments. It is not meant to be a relaxing massage and, indeed, can become quite vigorous at times. It is designed to prevent and relieve injuries and conditions that are associated with exercise.
Sports massage can be carried out before, during, or after playing sport or exercising and uses techniques that are designed to increase endurance and performance, to minimise the chances of injury and, if there is an injury, to reduce the recovery time. This type of massage uses a mixture of specific muscle massage, trigger point massage and stretches.
Sports Massage improves performance and aids in recovery from injury
Only an experienced sports massage therapist like Ray understands the benefits and limitations of massage in order to use it to full effect.
Sports Massage is not a flowing massage, and can be a bit painful in attempting to reduce muscle soreness or tightness. After a sports massage you should feel fairly good, with an improved Range Of Motion (ROM). You may suffer from muscle soreness the next day around the area massaged, depending on the depth and duration of the massage. This is where the massage therapist requires good feedback, to ensure they are working to your comfort level.
Did you know that you have over 650 muscles in your body?
Your massage therapist needs to be informed of your basic health and any injuries you may have. This is to ensure that the correct muscle group is being worked.
There are 4 types of Sports Massage:
1. Pre-Event Massage
- A quick 5 mins massage for circulation & alertness.
- No oil is used and no skin-to-skin contact is made.
- It is carried out through a towel or the clothes or both.
- This massage is carried out about 30 mins prior to the match or warm up. Note that it does not replace the warm up.
The pre-event sports massage is performed by basically bouncing the person’s body, as if you were dribbling a basketball. The major muscle groups are given a workover in quick succession. Many of these moves are classified as “number 1 moves” which improves circulation and promote good reflexes and alertness.
Note that the intensity of pre-event massage will vary from person to person.
Too much muscle work prior to the match will make you sleepy and not allow you to perform to your best.
Too little will not allow you to function properly due to tightness or soreness.
2. Post-Event Massage
- Assists in reducing muscle soreness.
- Takes about 3-5 mins per troubled muscle group.
- “Number 1 move” to aid circulation.
- “Number 2 move” to reduce muscular activity.
- The stretching element may be used for players who are feeling sore.
- Ischemic Compression* can be used to reduce muscle tightness.
* Ischemic Compression – This is where the centre of a tight muscle is depressed with the thumb or fingers and held, while you continue breathing slowly and deeply. This aids in increasing the length of the muscle to its original relaxed length.
3. Training Massage
- Takes approximately 5-8 mins per troubled muscle group.
- “Number 1 move” and “Number 2 move” utilised.
- “Number 3 move” is applied for spasm-breaking, ie breaking down muscle adhesions or “knots”.
- Facilitated stretching is used.
4. “Facilitated” or “PNF” Stretching
Facilitated stretching is used to restore full range of motion to a blocked limb and to release tightness. The limb is taken to its maximum range of motion, and held in this position while contraction is gently performed against it.
Muscles only work when contracting, but are you aware that at most times, it is the opposite muscle that prevents the full range of motion?
For example, if you were unable to raise your right leg as high as your left leg, the problem would probably not be the right quads but the right hamstrings which were restricting the motion.