Sports Massage Therapy is quickly becoming a popular treatment for everyone, not just elite athletes. The Sports Massage Therapists at Hand in Health Massage Therapy compiled all you need to know about this popular treatment. Keep reading to learn about what makes athletic massage unique and all the proven health benefits of Sports Massage.
What is different about a Sports Massage?
There are a variety of differences between a sports massage and a traditional therapeutic or Swedish massage for relaxation purposes. Sports massage is performed with a specific outcome and goal in mind. It is not performed just to ‘relax’ the mind and body. Relaxation may be the opposite of what is intended.
Another important difference is timing. Many times, sports massage treatments are scheduled at specific intervals or days, depending upon the patient’s activities, athletic events, or training program. Treatment length also vary from shorter targeted sessions to longer more comprehensive treatments on other days.
Think of Sports Massage as a specialty within the massage therapy profession. Similar to sports medicine within general medical practitioners. You do not have to consider yourself an athlete to benefit from a sports massage treatment, just like you do not have to be an athlete to be treated by a sports medicine physician. For example, if you are an office worker who is suffering from chronic back pain due to postural misalignment, sports massage will help!
What are The 3 Types of Sports Massage?
Pre-Event Sports Massage
Just as the name suggests, a pre-event sports massage is done at least 1-4 hours before the athletic event. Some even receive it days beforehand.
This kind of massage is used as part of your warm-up routine. It can be used to help you relax, stimulate your muscles and get you into the right mindset before an event or competition.
Post-Event Sports Massage
After a competition or training, your body is in the most need of recovery. This is when a post-event sports massage is done, at least 1 or 2 hours after the athletic event. It relaxes your muscles and prevents them from cramping or spasm. It also significantly reduces DOMS post-workout.
Rehabilitative Sports Massage
If you want to speed up the healing process and maintain your strength, get into rehabilitative sports massage. This type of massage therapy treats muscle pain and helps you recover from injuries quickly. It also reduces the risk of a repeat injury.
What are the Proven Health Benefits of Athletic Massage?
- It reduces DOMS and muscle aches
When your daily work involves repetitive movements, your muscles will eventually feel strained. Fortunately, sports massage reduces DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness by at least 30%. It also lessens the swelling and pain in tense muscles.
- It helps in treating chronic pains such as sciatica and plantar fasciitis
Aside from muscle soreness, chronic pain is also a common problem people have to deal with. More than 20% of the US adult population suffers from chronic pain every day. If you’re included in this statistic, a rehabilitative sports massage session will benefit you in many ways. It’s effective in helping you relax and reducing the flaring aches from your daily routine.
- It loosens up tight muscles and cramps
With each kneading stroke, a sports massage stretches tired muscles until they relax and become ready for recovery. It reduces tension and minimizes the chance of post-workout injury.
- It increases range in motion and flexibility
Many studies have proven that regular massage can increase your range of motion and flexibility. For this reason, many athletes find it useful before a competition. Patients recovering from injuries also benefit, as it helps return their mobility.
- It promotes a good night’s sleep
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, sports massage helps you sleep better at night. Aside from the physical effects, massage lowers the stress hormone, or cortisol, in your brain. It helps you slow down and feel less anxious.
How do I choose the best Sports Massage Therapist?
The first therapist you try may not be a perfect match. When you begin your search, know that you may need to try out a few different therapists before you find the right one for you. Here are some helpful tips to help you find the best Sports Massage Therapist:
Ask about Certifications & Experience: Before you book, make sure your therapist is licensed in your state. In New York, massage therapists have to complete required continuing education every 3 years. Ask your therapist what type of classes they’ve completed. If possible, find a Massage Therapist who is also certified as a Certified Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor or similar.
State your Goals: Be upfront and clear about your goals and expectations. Let your therapist know at the start of each treatment your areas of tension or problems with flexibility. If you are working on a specific performance ability, tell them so your treatment can be customized. Clear communication will make sure you are both on the same page and working towards the same goal.
Request post-treatment care: The best sports massage therapist will not only give you a great massage, but they’ll also tell you useful post-massage care tips. Make sure that when you’re trying out a therapist to see if they’re a good match, they provide you with detailed post-massage instructions or homework.
Book Your Massage Treatment
Sports Massage is beneficial for anyone. From elite athletes, weekend warriors, those experiencing chronic pain or even someone going to the gym or running a 5k for the first time. A sports massage will improve athletic performance and prevent injuries. They are a must-have treatment for any person with a highly active lifestyle.
Are you located in Onondaga County or the Syracuse area? Hand In Health is ready to customize a sports massage therapy and fitness plan for you. Let our certified Sports Massage Therapists, most of which are also Fitness Professionals, show you the benefits of our Sports Massage treatments. Contact our wellness centers in Downtown Syracuse or North Syracuse today!