If you just joined a gym after a long period of next to no physical activity or if you are someone whose job entails hours of strenuous work, then this article might be for you.
Recently, multiple studies conducted all over the world claimed that a specific type of massage could help with the stress, cramping, and minor wear and tear caused by exercise or other activities.
While universally known as “sports massage,” this kind of massage is not just of help to athletes but anyone who might have experienced any minor injury, stress, and muscle cramping during their work and play. This massage to relieve stress works well for people who are from muscle tightening and loss of flexibility.
But if you’re not a believer yet, in the next section we will talk about different kinds of sports massages and how it works.
Types of sports massages
- The Swedish Deep Tissue Massage
The deep Swedish kind of sports massage to relieve tension is the more common of the lot. It uses the traditional techniques of petrissage, effleurage, tapotement, and vibration while targeting specific clumps and areas of muscles and can work wonders on sports or other injuries. This recent article by Robin Hamiltonshows that many massage chair models such as Inada DreamWave massage chair use this technique.
- The cross fiber kind
This one usually works to improve flexibility by targeting the larger groups of muscles. It stretches and flexes those muscles to bring down the levels of adhesion and increase the flexibility in those specific muscle areas. It makes sure that your muscle flexibility is not compromised during the healing process.
- The one involving tender and trigger points
This one targets the tender areas in muscles and tissues explicitly. Using thumbs and other fingers, the pressure is applied to the regions tensed in your muscles. This works to reduce patterned pain, increased sensitivity, and muscle spasms. If these things don’t receive proper medical attention in time, they may turn into much bigger problems later in life.
- Compression massages
This kind of massage involves periodically and rhythmically compressing certain areas of tension and tissues. As shown in this guide by Ann Wolf, putting pressure on the tissues softens and relaxes them. However, this one usually treated as a warm-up before getting into more complicated and deeper forms of massage.
- The one involving your lymph
Like its name suggests, the lymphatic massage targets your lymph and their linked pathways. The massage stimulates these very pathways to increase and improve the removal of effusion and edemas from your body.
There are several different benefits involved when it comes to sports massages. Studies claim that it cannot only work to speed up the healing process but also to offer a kind of routine maintenance. It relaxes your tendons and muscles for maximum flexibility and makes sure none of the trigger areas turn into long-term issues.
Sports massages deal with the elimination of waste formed due to exercise and improve blood flow and body pressure. By reducing muscle tension and adhesion, it also allows your body to move better and gives you more access and range. You can read about some of that here.
Sports massage and their utility in various stages
It’s not that a person has to go for a sports massage only post-stress or injury. One can even schedule it even before or during an event or exercise. There are various kinds of massages that not only deal with healing but with prevention and treatment on-site. Sometimes it may be even made a part of rehabilitation programs.
The pre-event sports massages are usually shorter than a standard conditioning massage. Usually scheduled about four hours before the actual event, this kind of massage has several perks. Along with the athlete’s pre-event warm-up, this massage will soften and increase the flexibility of the tissues that will be put to use during the sports event.
It also works to improve the mental state of the athlete, taking away any stress or nervousness by relaxing their nerves and muscles. While some kinds of pre-event massages will help calm the athlete down, others will energize and stimulate.
By increasing tissue flexibility, it decreases the chance of injury and improves the athlete’s performance at the event.
- During events
The massages given during time-outs of an event not only relaxes and helps heal the muscles that have been tensed out in the previous half of the game but also helps prepare them for the strenuous activity that will be coming up next. It is also short and focuses mainly on tensed areas and stressed muscles.
- Post-event or injury
Massages given post sports events are almost entirely concerned with recovery. It works with every wear and tears the tissues have gone through during the event and on trigger areas like muscle spasms etc. to make sure they do not get worse with time.
The recovery stage is not just focused on the injury, though, but also relaxation. By improving blood flow, it calms down the heartbeat rate and deals with post-adrenaline rush weariness. Accordingly, this one lasts longer than the ones that came before and can last from anything between fifteen minutes to one and a half-hour.
Since, even with the preventive measures involved, there is still a high chance of cramps, tears, and bruises. Sometimes sports massages are a part of the rehabilitation process. They deal with the healing of any chronic or severe injuries so that they do not become a long-term trauma.
They also improve muscle flexibility so that when the athlete goes back, they are at their peak performance.
Then Need for Proper massage training
While the work of a sports massage therapist might not seem hard to the average person, they need to have adequate knowledge of what they are doing to not hamper the athlete’s flexibility and, consequently, their careers.
A certified therapist who’s confident in their craft can help people always be at the p