Anyone taking part in regular physical activity, whether at professional, competitive,
amateur level or just for fun, will almost certainly encounter soft tissue problems
of one sort or another at some time. The principal aims of Sports Massage are to
help prevent injury, aid recovery after an event, and to enhance sporting performance.
Sports Massage uses similar techniques to clinical massage and is an effective and
beneficial form of physical therapy for active sports people. It involves working
on the soft tissues of the body and isolating individual muscles or muscle groups
using specific and specialised techniques. Deeper pressures may be used and it can
take account of the type of sport being played by either being very focused on particular
areas of the body, or more general, depending on the goals and outcomes required.
Categories of sports massage:
Pre-event - which an athlete receives just before a workout, event or competition
to assist with warming up muscles, and maintaining flexibility.
Post-event- delivered very shortly after a workout, event or competition and designed
to assist with cooling-down, reducing soreness and relieving cramps.
Recovery- which can be received at least 24 hours after a workout, event or competition
to reduce soreness, increase range of motion, promote lymphatic drainage and blood
flow and reestablish balance.
Maintenance- used between competitions or events, or when an athlete is not training
hard. This may be a deeper, more focused massage and aims to maintain fitness, deal
with any chronic injuries, increase flexibility and help build strength.
Injury management- this includes treating acute and chronic injuries as well as
rehabilitation. The intention of this type of Sports Massage is to decrease swelling
and inflammation, reduce muscle spasms, and increase strength, endurance and flexibility.
A regular programme of Sports Massage may include a combination of some or all of
the above. Physical and mechanical effects of Sports Massage are to relieve muscle
tension, mobilise muscle fibres, improve flexibility, stretch soft tissues, reduce
swelling and inflammation, loosen adhesions, and improve circulation.