Sports Massage Therapy is a form of bodywork geared toward participants in athletics, from elite to the weekend warrior, though it can be used in most any situation and on any person. It always depends on applying appropriate techniques to fit the individual and the situation. It can be done without oil (usually in colder climates) or with oil.
It is used to prepare the body for athletic activity, help prevent injuries, maintain optimal conditioning, help athletes recover from competition, workouts, and injuries, and most importantly especially for elite athletes, extend an athlete’s athletic career substantially.
There are two main categories of Sports Massage Sports Massage. :
- Rehabilitation/maintenance massage – treatment work between events or competitions to help athletes recover from muscle fatigue and injury. It tends to be deeper, slower treatment to help heal affected muscles and structures and get the athlete ready for future competitions. After treatment, allowing two days before competing again is recommended to allow tissue healing and a return to balance and coordination.
- Event massage – short treatment work at the sports event, usually no more than 15-20 minutes, and broken down to three subcategories:
- Pre-event (warm-up) massage – fast, rhythmic, relatively moderate massage to body parts most used in that particular sport or to areas prone to injury or fatigue in that athlete. Increases the efficiency of athletic performance by enhancing circulation and muscle flexibility, while reducing physical and mental stress/fatigue.
- Inter-Competition massage – used in sports with multiple, same-day competitions e.g.; track and field, wrestling, etc. Can be a combination of pre- and post-event massage techniques depending on the situation and the problem.
- Post-event (warm-down) massage – slower, rhythmic, relatively light massage to reduce muscle tension/soreness, relieve swelling and cramps, help prevent future soreness, and promote a state of general relaxation. It helps to reduce the length of recuperation time after strenuous competition.