Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All About Sports Massage

So, what is “sports massage?” Many of my clients are athletes, or at the least weekend warriors and, as such have asked me about the subject. It seems the performance and wellness advantages afforded by sports massage are highly sought after by my more "competitive" clients? ; )

So anyway, there are basically three main goals of sports massage:
  1. To assist you in performing at you peak level
  2. To help reduce or possibly prevent the risk of injury
  3. To help with recovery in the event of injury
Since they typically want to depend on their body's ability to function at its best, injury recovery time is dramatically reduced for the clients that incorporate sports massage into their routine.

Although sports massage can occur in a variety of different settings and administered at different times with different goals, there are also generally four times to administer this type of massage:

  • Pre-event Massage - Pre-event massage typically occurs at the sports event, 20 to 30 minutes before the event. Encompassing techniques such as friction to help warm muscles up, compression to increase circulation in specific muscles and range of motion to assist in joint mobility, pre-event massage focuses on the muscles that will be stressed most during competition.
  • Post-event Massage - Also administered at the event site, post-event massage is aimed at helping the athlete recover from muscle soreness or cramping while reestablishing range of motion and circulation. Post-event massage might consist of compressive effleurage for calming the nervous system and pushing fluid, stretching and petrissage to relieve muscular tension, compression for spreading muscle fibers and restoring blood flow, broadening strokes to lengthen tight muscles, and reciprocal inhibition to relieve muscle cramps.
  • Maintenance Massage - Administered in between competitive events, a sports maintenance massage is part of an optimal wellness program that targets an athlete's strength, flexibility, coordination, biomechanics, posture, stress patterns, scar tissue and existing injuries.
  • Rehabilitation Massage - Because muscles worked to their limit cramp, tear, bruise and ache, even the most cautious athlete could benefit from rehabilitation massage. While sports massage should only be administered in unison with proper medical care, rehabilitative work can dramatically speed healing and ease pain. Rehabilitation sports massage techniques could include effleurage, neuromuscular therapy, compression, cross-fiber friction, lymphatic drainage and trigger point massage.
My practice focuses solely on the last two; maintenance and rehabilitative sports massage. And from what my clients tell me, investing in this type of service is a great performance booster, or at the very least, it's a great way to reward to yourself for a sport well played!

As Always - Enjoy Your Life!

John Aaron Villarreal

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  2. Thanks for the comments, Joseph. I commend your efforts on massage education!