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Sports Massage

What Is Sports Massage? 

A sports massage is specifically tailored to my client's individual needs. Some elements of sports massage are used in other physical therapy settings to treat conditions outside of sports, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.


Various techniques and movements are used to help an athlete's body reach maximum performance and physical conditioning, decreasing the chance of injury or pain and creating a quicker recovery.


Sports massage is focused and systematic, targeting muscles used in a specific sport. It uses various techniques to decrease muscle pain, improve recovery, and improve overall range of motion and flexibility to support the safe and effective movement.


A sports massage can assist with training, rehabilitation, and pre-or post-performance goals. While often sought by elite and amateur athletes, sports massage can also benefit anyone who regularly exercises.

Sports massage is designed for soft tissue injuries. It is commonly performed on athletes by certified sports massage, a popular technique for applying different types of pressure on the body.


Though generally applied using the hands, other body parts, such as the elbows, forearms, knees, and even feet, can also be used. In the same way, a massage device can also be used to apply the needed pressure effectively. The overall goal of massage is to provide relaxation and well-being.

Sports massage on leg

Sports massage is one of the numerous massages explicitly designed to treat musculoskeletal injuries and pain. It is also known as manual therapy since it involves applying pressure to knead the affected muscles. It also consists of the manipulation and mobilization of joints. Aside from treatment, this type of massage also helps prevent injuries, enhance the performance of muscles, and boost overall athletic performance. 

Sports massage can be classified based on when it is performed. A pre-event sports massage is done within an hour before a game or activity and is usually followed by an inter-event massage for those who need to rest between games. On the other hand, a post-event massage is done when the athlete cools down, while a therapeutic sports massage is performed during rest days.

Sports Massage Benefits 

  • Increased joint range of motion

  • Increased flexibility

  • Decreased muscle tension

  • Decreased neurological excitability

  • Decreased muscle spasms

  • Increased sense of well-being

  • Reduced anxiety and improved mood

  • Better sleep

  • Increased blood flow

  • Increased elimination of exercise waste products, such as lactic acid

  • Decreased chance of injury

  • Reduced recovery time between workouts


Side Effects of Sports Massage 

For the most part, sports massage is safe with few side effects. Potential side effects of sports massage include tenderness or stiffness for one to two days after a therapy session. Possible skin reaction to the massage oils used.


The Critical Differences Between Deep Tissue and Sports Massage

Although both techniques are similar in their focus on relieving pain and tension, the key difference is that sports massage therapy is used on athletic individuals. 


Where many people can benefit from Deep Tissue Massage for a range of muscular issues, sports massage is explicitly used for healing or preventing a sports-related injury.


Sports massage treats injuries experienced by athletes, such as hamstring strains or shin splints. Deep Tissue Massage identifies and treats areas of muscle weakness but usually doesn't treat sport-specific injuries. 

When to use Deep Tissue or Sports Massage Therapy

If you need to decide whether a Deep Tissue Massage or sports massage is best for you, this will help you figure it out. 


Generally, Deep Tissue Massage can relieve muscle tension, reduce stress, work knots, reduce muscle stiffness, and increase circulation. Deep Tissue Massage is often administered as a full body massage rather than focusing on a specific body area.


On the other hand, sports massage is a targeted massage approach that focuses on specific areas of the body that require healing or relief. Sports massage would be better suited to an athlete or someone who engages in regular physical activity.


Those who play tennis or participate in any sport that requires repetitive movements may find that sports massage can help relieve pain in muscles and joints and reduce swelling or jarring. Athletes can also use sports massage to condition their bodies and aid recovery.

Both deep tissue and sports massage use similar strokes, including kneading, circular movements, and tapping to relieve muscular pain and tension. People may have more reason to seek out sports massage if they experience overuse injuries from physical activity.


On the other hand, a person undergoing deep tissue massage may be looking for a more general relief from muscular pain and mental stress. 


These clients don't have to participate in a particular activity, be an athlete, or have a specific injury to receive deep tissue massage.


Bottom Line

Sports massage is the manual manipulation of the muscles explicitly geared toward helping people with physically demanding lifestyles and hobbies.


This therapeutic massage considers the impact of certain activities on specific joints, muscle groups, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissue groups.

Upper Back Massage
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