Sports massage was originally developed to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after a big event, or function well during training. Sports massage emphasizes prevention and healing of injuries to the muscles and tendons.
But you don’t have to be and athelete to benefit from sports massage. Sports massage is also good for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion. The massage therapist generally concentrates on a specific problem area.
What Happens During Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a type of Swedish massage that stimulates circulation of blood and lymph fluids. Some sports massage movements use trigger point therapy to break down adhesions (knots in the muscles) and increase range of motion.
There are four types of sports massages:
- pre-event sports massage — a short, stimulating massage 15 – 45 minutes before the event. It is directed toward the parts of the body that will be involved in the exertion.
- post-event sports massage — given within an hour or two of the event, to normalize the body’s tissues.
- restorative sports massage — given during training to allow the athelete to train harder and with less injury.
- rehabilitative sports massage — aimed at alleviating pain due to injury and returning the body to health.