By Mark Richards, CMT
What exactly is Sports Massage?
Many people believe that Sports Massage is only for trained, professional athletes. Not so. Anyone who is physically active can benefit from Sports Massage. Regardless of the type of activity, it can be modified to fit the needs of your particular sport or activity. Quite simply, Sports Massage is the systematic manipulation of the soft tissues of the body that focuses on muscle groups that are relevant to your particular activity. A swimmer, for example, may need specific attention to their upper body, especially the shoulder’s rotator cuff muscles and tendons. A runner, by contrast, may require more attention to their lower body: hips, legs, and feet.
Many different techniques are utilized in Sports Massage. A therapist may include elements of Swedish massage like effleurage (stroking) and petrissage (kneading). They may also incorporate Trigger Point therapy and passive stretching to improve range of motion. All of these methods are used to facilitate maximum performance and physical conditioning in the athlete’s body. Sports Massage is particularly known to decrease the chance of injury, as well as provide for a quicker recovery in your chosen activity or sport.
What are the Benefits of Sports Massage?
Some of the reported benefits include:
- • Increased blood circulation
- • Increased joint range of motion (ROM)
- • Increased flexibility
- • Increased elimination of exercise waste products (lactic acid)
- • Increased sense of well-being
- • Decreased muscle tension
- • Decreased neurological excitability (nerves more relaxed)
- • Decreased chance of injury
- • Decreased recovery time between workouts
From personal experience, I know that Sports Massage can improve an athlete’s performance. Back in 2002, I was doing massage on athletes at a swimming event in Australia. The venue, the Aquatic Centre at Sydney’s Olympic Park, was spectacular. In 2000, the Centre was home to all the Olympic’s swimming, diving and water polo events.
Mary Church, in the 50-54 year old bracket of the 200 meter individual medley, was having pain and stiffness in her right shoulder and was considering dropping out of the event. I worked on Mary for about 15 minutes concentrating on her troubled shoulder. Still a little sore, Mary believed that her range of motion had improved significantly enough to swim the event.
I was elated when Mary came back to my massage table beaming. She had taken the silver in her event! Her shoulder, she said, was much looser and pain free! Mary was now a firm believer in Sports Massage!
Whether you are a trained athlete or a weekend warrior, Sports Massage may be right for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and let us help you achieve your body’s maximum potential!