The What, Why & How of Sports Massage

Sports massage offers profound benefits to athletes and other enthusiasts. Let’s find out why… 

Sprained ankle while running a marathon, recovering from a hamstring strain, suffering muscle inflammation or any other my-type-of-injury, therapeutic sports massage is your thing!  

As per an Australian study on 5 healthy subjects, after they had undergone a series of physical exercises, massage had an integral role in relieving delayed-onset muscle soreness – something athletes commonly experience after any physical activity. 

However, even for someone who’s not new to this alternative form of treatment, choosing the right type of massage targeted to a specific injury can be tough. 

Here in this blog, we’ll provide answers to the commonly asked questions: 

  • What is sports massage?
  • Why you need sports massage therapy? 
  • How sports massage benefits your health? 

If you’re indecisive, we hope the upcoming essential information and supporting details will help you decide if sports massage is a wise choice or not for your health and well being. 

Without much ado, let’s dive in …

What is Sports Massage? 

As the name goes by, this massage focuses on specific areas of injury or pain related to any sports, physical activity or similar strenuous body movement. From relieving muscle tension, improving blood circulation to expediting the recovery, even a single session of sports massage can help you discern a difference. 

Having a timely action on your part can help you prevent injuries, prepare for the next field battle, and maintain optimal performance for a sustainable career in your favourite sport or in general! 

Sports massage resemble or somewhat look like a blend of Swedish and deep tissue but is modulated to satisfy the compelling needs of athletes and sportspersons.  

Why Sports Massage? – Benefits of Sports Massage 

Getting injured is the worst fear for any athlete or sportsperson. From impairing the performance, messing up disciplined training to prolong recovery, a sports injury can prove to be an expensive affair. 

Often, the mild-looking injury not just strains your mobility but jeopardizes your career. Studies have been in favour of massage therapy for many years. 

As per an Oxford University study in 2016, massage therapy can be advantageous in abating acute pain and supports medical treatment for anxiety and Health-related quality of life (HrQoL). Another study from  McMaster University  also pitched massage therapy to improve mobility in muscles and reduces recovery time between back-to-back sports or athletic events.

The Benefits In Nutshell: 

  • Clamps down blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Lowers anxiety and stress 
  • Expedites recovery after an injury.
  • Reduces stress hormones and Lifts mood.
  • Improves blood circulation & pumps oxygen and other nutrients to the vital parts   throughout the body
  • Enhances muscle flexibility or resilience against frequent injuries 
  • Reduces muscle tension and pain 
  • Encourages healing amongst connective tissues 

How Sports Massage Therapy Works?

Massage therapists who are pro in dealing with sports injuries deploy a mix of techniques to attend to the sore soft tissues or muscles.  This includes: 

  • Effleurage: These light-pressure gentle strokes stimulates blood circulation and warms up the soft tissues. The large strokes are applied towards lymph nodes, thereby improving the blood circulation and immunity. It also encourages the parasympathetic nervous system that’s responsible for releasing the happy hormones – endorphins, serotonin and dopamine and reducing stress.  
    • Petrissage: Also known as kneading, it emphasizes on exerting acute pressure on soft tissue and underlying muscle. Basically, if carefully pulls the tissues away to release tension and loosening up the muscles. Encourages lymphatic responses and destroys the bunch of connective tissues that are formed post-injury.  The prominent benefits include reduced tension, muscle/tissue soreness, DOMS and faster recovery. 
    • Tapotement: Often used interchangeably with percussion, it uses brisk and rhythmic movements of hands on the skin (not on the bones). Generally, hacking, pummeling, cupping, tapping and plucking comes under this technique.  These pre-event hand strokes invigorate the right amount of energy and stimulate muscle contractions and blood circulation. 
    • Friction Massage:  Involves deep yet calculated strokes of fingers or thumb on soft tissues to ligaments, tendons, fascia, and muscles. Administered transversely or circular motion. Targeted to break away adhesions, treat scar tissues, control inflammation and stimulate fluid movements of ligaments and joint structures. 
    • Vibration: These gentle yet shaky hand and finger movement stimulate targeted soft tissues pre-event. Improves blood circulation, stimulates the parasympathetic system and loosen up the soft tissues to destress and relax.  

    These are some of the strokes administered during sports massage therapy in Kirkland. However, the intensity of these comprehensive yet calculative manual techniques largely depends if it’s a pre or post event therapy and of course, the subject’s (patient) condition. 

    The Bottom Line 

    Sports injuries are unavoidable. Whether playing an intense game on the field, regular jogging in the park, gyming with heavy weights or indulging in anything physically demanding, speaking to a certified massage therapist in Kirkland can put you on the road to recovery.

Whether pre or post-event, experiencing the prolific results of professional sports massage can reduce acute pain/inflammation/downtime and fasten your journey towards complete recovery. 

Schedule a consultation with RRR Therapeutic Massage Centre Therapists at (425) 287-3691 today!