When a massage is first mentioned, a lot of people assume that it’s a luxury or a spa treatment, but it’s become an imperative part in any athletic training regimen. Massage also isn’t just for off-season training, during the season it can help to prevent injuries, boost performance, and reduce training pains. Massage therapy has become an essential part of any athletic training regimen, ranging from sports medicine clinics to college athletic training programs, to Olympic training programs and professional sports team training. Increasing numbers of athletic trainers and sports medicine specialists worldwide believe that massage provides an additional edge to athletes participating in high performance sports.
A complete workout encompasses not only the exercise itself, but also caring for the minor injuries and deterioration that naturally occurs in the body with strenuous activities. Anyone who regularly extends their physical limits through movement such as running, cycling, hiking, swimming, football, basketball, dancing, tennis, strength training and any other sort of aerobic activity can benefit from a massage. Integrating massage into any training or conditioning program because it lessens stiffness and soreness, and helps you to recover faster from heavy workouts, and relieves conditions which may cause injury.
What Is A Sports Massage?
Typically, a sports massage is an amalgamation of several massage techniques that are customized to your affected muscle groups based on the athletic activities that you perform. There are two types of sports massage that benefit athletes, depending on where you are in your training and competition season, and when you schedule your appointment.
If you have a race or competition coming up, you will want to receive a lighter massage. Light massage work will flush your system and help with recovery, relaxation and pain reduction. Deep massage work can change your muscle structure and muscle memory, which you’d want to avoid doing before any major event.
If you’re in between events and have specific problem areas, then during your session, you’d want to work on those specific areas with deep tissue work. Deep tissue work focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue, and is recommended for individuals who experience constant pain, are involved in heavy physical activity, such as athletes, and people who have sustained physical injury.
Why Should I Get A Sports Massage?
Just as continual improvement is the reason why most athletes continue to train during their off-season, cross-train with other athletic activities, put in hours in the gym, and push to train through all kinds of conditions. Just as you can justify hammering up hills on the bike, or training in the pouring rain to enhance your performance, those are the same reasons to get a good sports massage. After a sports massage, your body will feel more flexible and powerful, the irritating aches and pains can be addressed, and you can help reduce the possibility of injury.
One of the best reasons to get a sports massage is to assist your muscles, tendons and joints to move through their full range of motion and stay in optimal shape. Just as you’re supposed to do a pre-workout warm-up, you want your muscles to be pliable and your joints to be warmed up before strenuous activity. Most injuries are brought into the picture by overusing muscles. Overuse can result in soreness, pain, and inflammation. Regularly scheduled sports massage can decrease the chances of overuse injuries in the first place, and can also help reduce any inflammation that could potentially lead to injury. Sports massage can also lessen the possibility of injury recurrence. Massage is the most effective modality for treating soft-tissues injuries such as strains, sprains and stress injuries. Sports massage works to promote proper healing to scar tissues, reduce pain from recovering injuries, and loosen tight muscle areas.
Sports massage also works to increase focus and decrease stress, which can help to put you in the best state of mind psychologically before your next event. A quick paced massage can also leave you feeling rejuvenated and invigorated, allowing you to train to the best of your ability throughout the year.
How often should you get a sports massage?
It depends on your sport, how active you are, and the intensity of your training schedule. Most professional athletes have sports massages three to four days a week, amateur and collegiate athletes typically once to twice a week. On average, an athlete should get one massage per week or a minimum of one per month. For those of you that are weekend warriors, we would strongly recommend at least twice a month, since your training isn’t a regimented as amateur or professional athletes, and your body will take longer to recover. The number of recommended massages may seem extreme, but massages go a long way to help prevent injury.
When should I get a sports massage?
People respond in various ways to massage treatments, so we recommend trying them at different times during your training to determine what works best for you. A lot of people prefer doing maintenance work during their training, and then scheduling massages a couple days after major events for recovery sessions. Pre-event massages are intended to stimulate the muscles, whereas post-event massage designed to promote recovery.