The many benefits of Sports Massage are to enhance the athlete’s performance, maintain the body in better physical condition, prevent injuries, decrease healing time after an injury, and increase the length of the athlete’s career.
There are four areas of Sports Massage: pre event, post event, training massage, and injury care and are performed at a deeper level and at the pain tolerance of the athlete.
PRE EVENT MASSAGE
Pre event massage is performed 10-45 minutes before the athlete’s event and enhances muscle tone, flexibility, and hyperemia. A sequence of compressions, cross fiber friction, and ischemic compressions are used to “warm up” and “excite” the muscle tissue. This procedure is used in conjunction with the athlete’s stretching program prior to the event and focuses on the major muscle groups to be used (i.e.: runners – legs, glutei, arms).
POST EVENT MASSAGE
Post event massage is performed 1 to 2 hours after the event and helps to restore the athlete’s body to a state of homeostasis. It helps to prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), fatigue, insomnia and post event depression. This massage incorporates the full body utilizing strokes of effleurage, petrissage, frictions, stripping, and tapotement.
Training massage is used to prevent and treat injuries and promote a healthy body during the athlete’s training schedule. Treatment is advised for 1 and half hours every week or two. It consists of compressions, transverse frictions, effleurage, petrissage, broad cross fiber stroke, longitudinal stroke and tapotement and are applied in this order.
ACUTE INJURY CARE
Prompt and immediate attention to the injury is the utmost importance. R.I.C.E. - rest, icing the area, compression, and elevation will promote faster healing of the tissue and reduce swelling. Massage therapy is applied to align and form a more pliable scar tissue using cross fiber friction, compressions, and ice. Light pressure is used and within the pain tolerance of the athlete.