Sports massage can play an important part in the life of any athlete whether they are injured or not. Sports massage is designed to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after big event, or function well during training.
Sports massage is becoming popular in schools, universities, health clubs, the Olympics and professional athletes training programs. More and more massage therapists are incorporating sports massage into their practice to show athletes how sports massage can enhance their program and abilities.
Skillfully applied sports massage can enhance an athlete’s performance by increasing flexibility and range of motion, level of energy is greater, faster recovery, pain reduction, muscular relaxation, increased mental alertness, clarity and decrease injury potential.
There are four types of sports massages:
* pre-event sports massage -- a short, stimulating massage given 15 minutes up to four hours before the event to improve performance and help decrease injuries. It is used as a supplement to an athlete's warm-up to enhance circulation and reduce excess muscle and mental tension prior to competition. It is shorter than a regular massage usually (10-15 minutes) in length and focuses on warming-up the major muscles to be used, and getting the athlete in a good mental state for competition.
* post-event sports massage -- is given within an hour or two after the event, and is mainly concerned with recovery and normalize the body's tissues. It is geared toward reducing the muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with vigorous exercise. Recovery after competition involves not only tissue normalization and repair, but also general relaxation and mental calming. A recovery session might be 15 minutes to 11/2 hours in length
* restorative sports massage --is given during training to allow the athlete to train harder and with less injury. Restorative massage can be deep and intense. Deep does not mean painful. All techniques must stay within the pain tolerance of the athlete. If the restorative massage is deep and intense, it should be done on days when training is light or the on a day the athlete is not training.
* rehabilitative sports massage -- aimed at alleviating pain due to injury and returning the body to health.
Even with preventive maintenance, muscles cramp, tear, bruise, and ache, Sports massage can speed healing and reduce discomfort during the rehabilitation process. Therapy can be given once or twice a day when an athlete is out of training and every other day until he/she is back to a full schedule.
Sports massage is contraindicated in any illness, acute injury, abnormal condition or disease except as advised by the athlete's physician.