Sports Massage is recommended for people who are active-not just athletes. It was originally designed to prepare an athlete for an upcoming event.
Specialized massage therapy techniques can assist in preventing injury because they help to condition the muscles and stimulate circulation of the blood and lymph.
Many practitioners are also trained to aid the muscles in healing by providing manual lymph drainage techniques.
Some therapists are also trained to facilitate the break-up of lesions and adhesions to reduce strain and fatigue.
Massage schools usually teach specialized sports instructions which include how to work on common sports injuries. There is more focus on trigger points and tight muscle areas.
Many sports teams with professional athletes will hire a sports massage therapist for their staff because these athletes must keep their muscles flexible and strong.
The therapy is often given before an event to stimulate the muscles and after an event to help restore muscles to their normal, relaxed state.
Usually, massage therapy school will teach the basics of sports bodywork, what to do and what not to do, but specialized training is much more beneficial.
Sports bodywork schools teach specific techniques for before the event, after the event, and specific massage techniques for maintenance.
Benefits of Massage
Massage for athletes helps to relieve swelling and fatigue in muscles, as well as conditioning the muscles for performance, increasing flexibility, and reducing the likelihood of injuries.
If you want to learn in the comfort of home, this is one of the best massage videos detailing the techniques. Sports Event & Medical Massage Video for Learning 13 Pre, Inter, and Post Event Sessions to Work with Runners, Cyclists, Swimmers, Tennis Players and Other Athletes, teaches stretching and massage techniques for both men and women. It is highly rated, very detailed, and covers essential muscle groups and areas of high muscle stress for athletes.
This is a short clip of the DVD:
What you will study
There are basically three types of massage for sports: pre-event, post-event and maintenance.
Pre-event massage therapy techniques prepares the athlete, both physically and mentally for the rigorous work the muscles have to perform. It helps to increase the muscle's flexibility and blood flow, in addition to decreasing the athlete's anxiety level.
Post-event massage helps to decrease swelling and tendency of the muscle to cramp or spasm, due to decreased blood flow to the muscles.
Maintenance massage helps to keep the muscles loosened and support blood flow, to prevent tightening, sports injuries, and scar tissue adhesions. It is often done weekly, but in professional athletes can be performed daily.
You should also be trained on "event massage", which is how to massage during an actual sports event, as some trainers and sports team search for therapists who understand these techniques.
Read more about the physiological and psychological benefits of Massage.for Athletes!
If you are interested in massage schools for sports bodywork/massage , check out our list of the best schools that teach specialized sports massage training.