After an event, the athlete has accumulated metabolic wastes in their muscles and caused micro-trauma to the muscle fibers. The therapists’ focus is to improve the athletes’ circulation and reduce tension in their muscles to help their body recover from the stress of competition. We also want to gently lengthen the muscles to their pre-activity state. A post-event massage will use all pre-event techniques plus deeper strokes to sport specific muscles, and static stretching. Post-event massage is most useful anytime directly after or up to 24 hours following competition.
As an athlete you use your body regularly and push it to the extreme. Long hours of training toward a goal can all be for nothing if your body doesn’t hold up to the demands placed on it. Sports massage is a great tool to aid your training program as a preventative measure keeping you free from injury. If an injury does happen massage can help your body recover faster. Other benefits of sports massage are faster recovery from workouts, decreasing adhesions and restrictions in joints and muscles, and improving your mental focus.
Sports Massage is most beneficial when the massage therapist focuses on the muscles and joints primarily used in your particular sport or event. This means the sports massage therapist should have the knowledge of the basic biomechanics of your sport and know the common areas of myofascial strain you will encounter in training and competition. This knowledge best serves you the athlete because certain techniques are used before, during and after competition as well as during different stages of injury. Myofascial pain can be easily erased with the right sports therapy.
Sports Massage is similar to therapeutic massage but uses more stretching and the pace of the techniques are often more energetic. There are three main types of sports massage we use in our La Mesa Massage office.
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A pre-event sports massage involves techniques that are typically high-energy and non-therapeutic in focus. We find that pre-event sports massage is most beneficial anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours before competition. No deep tissue techniques or strong stretching techniques are used at this time. In general, the closer it is to competition, the less we do in terms of massage. A pre-event massage will use, compression and rocking, energetic strokes over major muscle groups to be used, shaking, jostling, and stretching. We believe muscle energy techniques are beneficial and use various types including active isolated stretching. The stretching done at this time is gentle and non-static. Kinesiology taping can be done at this time.
During this type of massage we use standard therapeutic massage but with emphasis on the muscles and movements utilized in the sport. This is the time to correct any adhesions or restrictions. All therapeutic massage techniques are used including deep tissue, trigger point work, and any therapeutic stretching techniques that will benefit the athlete. Maintenance massage is best scheduled where there can be a day of rest following the treatment if possible.