Optimum Performance – Sports Massage

by Heather Duchan | July 8th, 2011 | Sports

Some athletes go beyond seeking simple fitness. They focus on attaining a level of performance that may overwork certain muscles in ways that are not always healthy. Many sports require using a single group of muscles over and over in a specific way that can result in hypertrophy, compensation patterns in other muscle groups, and changes in connective tissue formation that result in injuries and chronic soft tissue problems.

According to the book, Understand Sports Massage, there are three types of restorative massage for athletes:

Recovery Massage

Recovery massage is beneficial to athletes with no injuries who need to recover from strenuous training or competitions. Recovery massage routines focus on relieving muscle soreness and spasms and bringing the body back to homeostasis. It is similar to a full-body Swedish massage, although there may be special attention given to muscles that are used heavily for your sport.

Remedial Massage

Remedial massage uses more advanced massage for athletes with minor to moderate injuries. Deep tissue work and trigger point therapy is often used to break adhesions in soft tissues,and to restore muscles that are overcompensating in some way or not functioning properly. Tennis elbow and chronic pain from nerves pinched by muscles are two maladies that remedial sports massage can address.

Rehabilitation Massage

Rehabilitation massage is advisable for athletes recovering from severe injuries or surgeries. General full body massage is helpful while a person’s injury is new. This brings on a parasympathetic and healing response in the individual. In addition, dealing with injuries or surgery often results in overcompensation patterns that can cause further injuries or hinder athletic abilities. A massage therapist with advanced training can address these issues while providing massage routines that will aid in healing.

Finding a Sports Massage Therapist

Sports massage requires skill beyond basic Swedish massage. If you are interested in hiring a therapist for sports massage, make sure you find one who has an extensive knowledge of the sport you are involved. Certain massage techniques can cause neurological disorganization, taking a toll on any neurological training that you’ve achieved to play your sport with ease. In the same way, an exceptional massage therapist may be able to aid in neurological and movement training in your body.

To find the right sports massage therapist for you, ask for referrals from other athletes, physical therapists, or trainers in your area.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.