Sports Massage is a specialized form of traditional Swedish Massage using pressure along with long, rhythmic strokes to relax muscles. Oils and/or lotions are usually used to reduce friction. With this massage, the therapist will usually concentrate on a specific area, specific to your activity, and may employ massage therapy trigger point techniques to help break up adhesions (knots) in muscles, thus improving range and flexibility.
Sports massage works predominantly to alleviate the build up of stress and tension which occurs in the soft tissues of the body during physical activity. The approach may differ depending on the area of concern to be addressed.
Depending on the person's need, the technique may involve a blend of Swedish massage and shiatsu. Three main strokes are used in sports massage.
Gliding strokes with the palms, fingertips and thumbs usually carried out at the beginning and end of a sports massage session.
Kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and fingers used on deeper tissues to induce relaxation, stretch muscle fibres and mobilize fluids.
Circular pressure with the palms, thumbs and fingers. Used primarily for exploratory purposes or for deeper more painful movements, this stroke breaks down lesions and recent scar tissue and separates muscle fibres. Friction should only be used for short periods as longer periods can cause irritation and inflammation.
There are four basic types Sports Massage:
- Pre-Event - This type of massage is done to stretch and stimulate muscles prior to a competition. Sessions usually last 30 to 45 minutes.
- Post-Event - Usually performed shortly after a competition, this type of massage is used to relax stressed muscles and restore tissue balance.
- Restorative - Done during training, this is used to allow athletes to train harder while avoiding injury.
- Rehabilitative - Used to accelerate healing and reduce pain from strains, pulls and other muscular injuries.
The benefits of Sports Massage:
- reducing muscle tension
- improving flexibility
- improving blood circulation & lymphatic flow
- reducing heart rate and blood pressure
- relieving pain
- assisting in the removal of metabolic waste
- sedating or stimulating nerve endings
- increasing/decreasing muscle tone and length
- assists in mental preparation
Whether you are a weekend warrior, a professional athlete or live an active lifestyle, Sports Massage may be right for you. Anyone whose muscles are under regular stress or who is suffering from muscular stiffness, soreness or limited range-of-motion can benefit from this proven type of therapy. Check with your local day spa or health club to ask if this massage is available in your area.
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