Sports massage is a special form of massage that is carried out with the physical and psychological needs of the athlete in mind. Its purpose is to:
- prepare the athlete for peak performance
- drain away fatigue
- relieve swelling
- reduce muscle tension
- promote flexibility
- prevent injuries.
The benefits of sports massage include:
- Reduced recovery time between training sessions
- Reduced likelihood of developing sports injuries
- Reduced likelihood that a primary injury will lead to secondary injuries
- An increase in the length of an athlete’s career
Sports massage can be divided into 4 different types:
- Pre-event: Given in the hours running up to an event. It promotes tissue pliability and prepares the athlete for top performance. It also increases blood circulation and reduces excess muscle and mental tension prior to competition.
- Post-event Sports Massage: Up to 4 hours after the activity. This helps to relax the muscles, remove waste products formed during exercise and increase the supply nutrients to the area. It reduces the likelihood of developing soreness in the muscles and in turn reduces the athlete’s recovery time.
- Training Sports Massage: This helps to improve recovery between training sessions and reduces the risk of injury. In turn, it maximises performance and therefore the effect of training. It also allows early detection of changes in tissue tension or inflammation before they develop into injuries.
- Rehabilitation Sports Massage: this treatment is given to aid recovery from sports injuries. It reduces inflammation, breaks down scar tissue and adhesions and returns joint, muscles and tendon mobility to normal levels. These treatments greatly increase the speed of recovery after injury and significantly reduce chances of re-injury.