Sports Massage Benefits Non-Athletes, Too
Although sports massage is specifically designed for individuals involved in physical activity, it isn’t necessary to be a professional athlete to receive one from a certified massage therapist that has been specifically trained in the techniques associated with this type of massage.
A sports massage is ideal to treat injuries and as a preventative treatment dealing with the health of muscle and connective tissue, range of movement, tone, symmetry, balance of muscle and quality of posture. Facilitated stretching is a common treatment used in sports massage to help loosen muscles and increase flexibility.
The goal of sports massage is to prepare, treat and maintain the athlete. Generally, it is broken down into three categories: pre-event, which includes quick, energetic techniques that enhance an athlete’s warm-up; post-event, which involves more calming techniques that aid muscles in returning to their natural state; and maintenance, which includes techniques that aid an athlete throughout their training.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, sports massage requires a better-than-average understanding of anatomy and physiology, along with kinesiology, pathology and orthopedic assessment, which is why weekend warriors, as well as anyone that is active or works out often, will appreciate the combination of techniques that are used in sports massage.
Faster than the long, relaxing strokes and light to moderate pressure used in a normal Swedish massage, the focus of sports massage is on preventing and treating injuries, as well as enhancing athletic performance. A preliminary report published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy noted that athletes that had an athletic massage two hours after eccentric exercises experienced a diminished inflammatory response and delayed onset of muscle soreness.
Olympic athletes have used massage for many years. In the 2012 London Olympics, 800 massage therapists worked hand-in-hand with the medical team.
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