Sports massage isn’t just for athletes and weekend warriors. It focuses on muscle work that enhances pre- and post-sports activities or treats injuries. Athletes who participate in regular pre-and post-sports massage therapy find it boosts endurance and performance, reduces recovery time, fatigue and muscle soreness, and may help prevent injuries. It is an excellent preventative measure to utilize before injuries occur, injuries that can keep you from your regular exercise and training routine. Techniques may include Swedish strokes, friction, deep muscle, cupping, stretching, and heat or cold applications.
Pre-sports massage uses faster, warming strokes like compression, friction, shaking, and stretching, in order to warm the muscles, increase flexibility, and increase blood flow in preparation for activity. It is important to keep the session short so as not to tire the muscle before a workout or event.
Post-sport massage’s purpose is to assist with quicker recovery, and aid in removing waste products from the muscle tissue. This is done with deeper, broad effleurage and petrissage strokes, slower compression, range of motion, and heat to relax the muscles. This is also a good time to use herbal balms, salves, or healing oils.
Another purpose for sports massage is for treating injuries. An injured client does not have to be an athlete; many desk jobs create repetitive use injuries or cause muscles that are atrophied or chronically tight to cause injuries in every day situations. A treatment plan wil depends on the location, type, and severity of the injury, but may include cross-fiber friction to aid in proper formation of scar tissue needed to build muscle mass, or break up old scar tissue that is restricting movement and performance. Treatment may be followed with ice and continued movement on the part of the client.