Secrets of Sports Massage

Be it for general health improvement or for an injury treatment, sports massage plays an important role in a sports person’s life. Sports massage focuses on slight stroking of muscles and kneading them. It also includes deeper therapeutic techniques such as stripping the muscles and frictions.

Why sports massage is important for sportspersons?

Experts cite six important reasons why a sportsperson should go for a sports massage.

  • It maintains the body in generally better condition.
  • It helps prevent injury and loss of mobility.
  • It helps restore mobility to injured muscle tissue.
  • It may boost performance. Some have claimed massage could be as effective as taking anabolic steroids!
  • It is excellent for reducing back pain and general relaxation.
  • It may extend the overall life of your sporting career.

It is for these reasons that massage has become an integral part of a sports person’s training. Athletes who look forward to improve their performance, skill, strength, stamina, suppleness and speed go for sports massage which helps them get the extra push.

Aims of Sports Massage
Sports massage focuses on the individual needs of the sportsperson. Its main aim is to equip the sportsperson with an improved state of health. When a sports person goes for a sports massage, the therapist has to study his/her anatomy and physiology, especially the muscular and skeletal systems. A clear understanding of the systems will help the therapist choose the right kind of exercise for the person.

Though the basic techniques used in sports massage are same as that of the other forms of massage, the therapist might use them more firmly for the sports person’s benefit. The therapist might use the techniques that involve applying deeper pressure to tissues repeatedly to break down adhesions and soften the scar tissue. These will eventually give the sportsperson an edge to prevent injuries or to help the body heal the defects by itself.

Techniques of Sports Massage
There are three main categories of massage techniques that are widely used in sports massage. These are Effleurage, Petrissage and Frictions. These three techniques follow one after the other during a massage session.

  • Effleurage helps introduce the sportsperson to therapeutic touch. It warms the tissues, increase blood flow, stimulates peripheral nerves and relaxes the muscles.
  • In Petrissage the therapist kneads the muscles. Also pressure is applied on deeper tissues for mobilizing fluids, stretching muscle fibres, and inducing relaxation.
  • Frictions are used for exploratory purposes, or for deeper and sometimes more painful movements aimed at breaking down lesions, separating muscle fibres, and even breaking down recent scar tissue.
  • In sports massage almost every massage technique, other than short strokes aimed at muscle fibres, is carried out with an aim to improve heart functioning. And thus increasing venous and lymphatic flow. This ensures that no pressure of blood is pushed against closed valves causing damage to blood vessels.

However, it is important that the massage should not be so painful to tighten up the muscles.

When not to go for a Sports Massage
If you are facing contraindications, massage therapy is not advisable. Conditions of contraindication are:

    • Open wounds
    • Muscle ruptures
    • Tendon ruptures
    • Contusions
    • Burns, Chilblains and Broken bones
    • Periostitis
    • Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gout
    • Bursitis
    • Infections of the skin and soft tissue
    • Thrombosis
    • Artificial blood vessels
    • Haemophilia

It is therefore, advisable to go for a physician’s consultation before opting for a sports massage therapy.