You may have heard of a sports massage but not quite sure exactly what it is or what it does. If that sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place. Here we’ll answer all your questions to give you the info you need. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is Sports Massage?
Sports massages can vary depending on when they are received by the athlete and are done in order to prepare and maintain an athlete’s body conditions, or to help an athlete recover from strain and injuries after sporting events.
A sports massage may also be tailored to fit the activities involved in an athlete’s respective sport, with some sports massages targeting certain areas.
Sports massages are not done for the purpose of pampering and relaxation, and can often be quite strenuous to athletes. By stretching tightened muscles and improving the conditions of connective tissues, an athlete’s flexibility and range of motion are greatly improved.
There is also a lower risk of injuries, as the improved flexibility reduces the likelihood of an athlete pulling their muscles. The athlete’s muscles and nerves are also stimulated, preparing them for physical activities involved in their respective sports.
This stimulation, along with the reduced risk for injuries, allows athletes to perform at a higher level without worry about fatigue or injuries.
Sports massages have been proven to be effective at improving and maintaining the physical condition of athletes that they have been practiced for over a century in order to prepare athletes for sporting events, such as the Olympics.
What Are The Benefits Of Sports Massage?
Muscle strain, fatigue, and injuries often come as a result of strenuous physical activities. One of the main causes of this is a lack of preparation.
All of these may be prevented by a sports massage. From better performance to improved recovery, sports massage offers a wide range of benefits. Below are the four main benefits that a sports massage can provide.
Physical strain is almost always certain when people exert maximum effort toward physical activities. Sports massage can help prevent injuries, fatigue, and strain by preparing the muscles and connective tissues of an athlete before sporting events.
Through various techniques such as effleurage, tapotement, friction, and vibration, the flexibility of an athlete’s muscles and connective tissues is improved, allowing for better motion. This helps prevent the athlete from pulling certain muscles, such as the hamstring, thus reducing the risk of injury.
Sports massage also helps stimulate the muscles and nerves of the body, reducing the overall strain which can accumulate from sporting events. Sports massage also helps the muscles relax after events, reducing the likelihood of delayed onset muscle soreness.
Additionally, sports massages help locate pain trigger points in an athlete’s body. By identifying which areas are likely to get injured, earlier preventive measures can be taken, reducing the risk of injuries in the long run.
There is no surefire method to prevent injuries, as there is always a chance for accidents to occur during events.
On occasions where injuries are sustained by athletes, sports massages help speed up the recovery process. Muscle pain and soreness are relieved through different sports massage techniques, helping alleviate the pain they bring.
Since sports massage can help determine which areas are injured by locating the pain trigger points, physiotherapists can determine the severity of injuries.
This, in turn, helps them decide the best course of action to take in dealing with certain injuries. The improved recovery rate also helps prevent injuries from developing into worse conditions.
In addition to improving recovery from injuries, sports massages are also given to surgery patients during rehabilitation in order to speed up the rehabilitation process.
Sports massages help stimulate the muscles and nerves, allowing patients to be able to have better control of certain muscles. Rehabilitative sports massage also helps prevent the muscles of surgery patients from deteriorating, preparing them for rehabilitation.
Sports massage helps improve flexibility and range of motion. This allows athletes to perform better while reducing the risks of injury. Athletes no longer have to worry about tearing or spraining muscles and connective tissues, allowing them to exert more effort toward their respective sports.
More stress is also required before strain and fatigue set in, allowing athletes to perform at a higher level for extended periods of time. Additionally, the improved recovery rate brought by sports massages helps athletes perform at a more consistent level throughout a series of sporting events.
Sports massages also help enhance an athlete’s performance by preparing certain muscles and tissues for strenuous physical activities.
Better movement comes as a result of an improved range of motion resulting from a sports massage. In different sports, this may come out as better arm motion during a throw, better agility during running, or a wider reach.
In addition to directly preparing muscles and tissues for sporting events, maintenance sports massages can be given to athletes on a regular basis in order to help maintain their body condition.
By having regular maintenance sports massages during the off-season, athletes are able to train at a level similar to their usual level during the regular season.
This prevents the athlete’s performance from deteriorating due to muscle deterioration, while also helping the athlete be in form at all times.
Rest and Relaxation
Oftentimes, people do not connect relaxation with sports massage. After all, a sports massage can be quite strenuous. However, the ability of sports massage to prevent injuries reduces an athlete’s stress, allowing them to be able to properly rest and relax in between events.
Furthermore, a more stable heart rate and blood flow are retained by the athlete during events as a result of a more relaxed state of mind, helping improve performance and endurance.
Having relief from pain is also one method of reducing stress. Sports massages can help reduce pain from injuries sustained during events, improving both the quality and quantity of rest that athletes can get.
In turn, improved rest results in an improved recovery rate. By maintaining and improving the physical state of an athlete, their mental and emotional states also improve drastically, improving their performance in the long run.
Overall, a sports massage can help prepare an athlete for sports. By preventing injuries and maintaining peak conditions, athletes are able to perform at higher levels while showing a certain level of consistency.
It should always be remembered that the main goal of sports massage is physical conditioning, rather than leisure and relaxation. It is recommended to consult a physiotherapist before receiving any form of sports massage in order to maximize results.