Sports massage is the application of a series of massage techniques that combine a thorough knowledge of the anatomy and normal functioning of the human body, the understanding of training methods and physical conditioning to develop enhancement of sports performance.
Benefits of Sports Massage
- Allows athletes to perform at their best, due to it accelerating the body's natural healing processes
- Allows athletes to participate more frequently in rigorous training and fitness
- Helps reduce the chances of suffering injuries through recovering mobility and flexibility in the affected muscle tissue (Beck, 2000)
Sports massage is used by athletes as a supplement that can improve their physical performance.
There are many coaches who recommend its use and many athletes who, when their workouts are not as expected, resort to sports massage (that is applied days before the competition to relax or unload the muscles) or to stimulating sports massage (which is applied immediately before competing to stimulate and warm up the muscles).
Sports massage is used to prepare and recover athletes pre and post competition. Sports massage reduces the risk of DOMS or 'Delayed onset muscle soreness', returns muscle strength and performance after training, preventing the appearance of injuries.
It generates increased blood flow, reduced muscle tension, excitation of the nervous system and a greater sense of well-being.
Due to the pressure of a sport massage exerted on the mucle tissues can result in a decrease in muscle stiffness, an increase in blood flow due to an increase in arteriolar pressure as well as an increase in muscle temperature due to rubbing.
You could also expect a reduction in anxiety and an improvement in well-being that causes relaxation (psychological mechanisms) (Weerapong et al., 2005). These benefits of massage are expected to help the athlete improve their performance and reduce the risk of injury.
The pre-competition massage, applied 15 to 45 minutes before a competition, prepares the body for intense activity to increase the circulation and flexibility of body area that you want to use.
Post competition massage should reduce muscle tension, minimise swelling and painful sensitivity reducing the mild adhesions of crossed fibers produced by a microtrauma, promoting relaxation and reduce recovery time.