Sports massage focuses on working with highly active clients to improve
performance by preparing for an activity, maintaining fitness or improving recovery
from an activity. The term sport massage is used generally to refer to several
categories, pre-event, inter-competition, post-event, and rehabilitative sport
Pre-event therapeutic massage is intended to focus on warming up tissues and
prepare them for activities. It includes lighter, faster, more stimulating
techniques targeting primary muscles needed for the sport. One thing you should
note is that there currently is some debate over the efficacy of pre-event
massage. Some research suggests that pre-event massage may negatively impact sport
performance except for those who may suffer from excessive stress and tension. More on this is coming in future posts.
Inter-competition massage involves short, targeted massage during breaks in
the event. With this type of massage work is focused on muscles used in the
event. For best results this type of massage should be provided by a skilled
therapist familiar with the athlete and sporting event.
Post-Event/ Recovery Massage
Post-event massage is used to help athletes recover from strenuous workouts
or sporting events by facilitating homeostasis. Common goals to work towards
with recovery massage may include reducing muscle soreness, tension, and stress.
This type of massage is not meant for treatment of injuries and can take a more
generalized, full-body massage approach.
Remedial/ Rehabilitative Massage
Rehabilitative massage is performed by massage therapist with specialized skills
and training to focus on specific injuries or problems. In these situations,
massage may focus specifically on an injury or other issues that may arise as a
result of injury such as compensatory movement patterns. Massage therapist may work
with athletes independently or as a part of an interdisciplinary team including
athletic trainers, physicians, or physical therapist.
Types of techniques used during sport massage: