What is Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a category of massage therapy specializing in the treatment of athletes and athletic injuries.
In encompasses the following categories and concepts:
- The techniques used are varied
- It takes into consideration the training program
- It is focused on the muscles and injuries specific to a sport
1) Various techniques are used
The therapist chooses what techniques are deemed necessary to treat the athlete. Sports massage doesn’t limit itself to one technique but mixes styles and takes from different forms of massage to achieve a particular goal. Stretching is almost always included, as it is an important part of sport therapy.
The various techniques used are, amongst others:
- deep tissue therapy
- myofascial release
- PTSM (read more about the PTSM)
Because most techniques require stretching and unusual positions, we recommend dressing with sports shorts and a sports bra that unhooks at the back or bathing suit top for ladies.
2) Timing of training affects the type of massage
The goal of the massage depends of the phase of training in which the athlete is.
During training periods, the goals are to participate in the development of the body: the therapist will aim to increase flexibility where necessary, remove knots, and loosen.
During recovery periods, the goals are to aid in the healing process: the therapist will use healing techniques that are usually lighter.
In-between training, the goal is to maintain the body at a reasonable rate of looseness and flexibility: the therapist will use some stretching, some loosening and some healing techniques.
Injury: in the case of an injury, the recovery treatment will adapt to the healing process of the injury. At the beginning of an injury, massages are more frequent, short and focused on the area. For example, a sprained ankle may need light but bi-weekly work after the acute phase is over. As the injury recovers, massages are more intense, and less frequent. The ankle will receive deeper massages and deeper stretches as it heals. Once the injury is recovered, only one or two check-up massage sessions will be required.
Ask you therapist to put together a massage program that is integrated in your training.
3) Massage is focused on the specific muscles and injury of a sport
The massages are geared towards athletes and their sports. For instance, working on a runner will require doing a lot of leg work, but the upper body work will be minimal. Moreover, massages will target those areas that tend to become injured. For example, a massage session with a tennis player will involve a forearm massage that is preventive in the development of tennis elbow. If necessary, a whole session could be spent only on important areas, and skip completely muscles that are not overused in a particular sport.
At Phila Massages, we will accompany athletes in their training and recovery, we will respect their privacy and confidentiality, we will fully listen to their needs for tailored, effective massage sessions.