Sports massage: when and how?

What is “sports massage” for?

Have you found our last reflexology article very interesting and want to find out more about massage techniques? Sports massage is a peculiar type of massage. It is performed on precise and specific body areas, in order to improve your performance in sports.

The purpose of sports massage is to increase the performance capacity; therefore, it plays an absolute necessary role in the athletes preparation.

However, it must be considered as a complementary tool of the other more important training activities. In fact, despite being an excellent method to relieve fatigue and get your working abilities back, sports massage – before the competition or training – is often replaced by warming-up treatments and muscle stretching with a circulation stimulation, which has shown to be more effective.

On the other hand, sports massage is irreplaceable for its effect on the mind: it positively affects the physical situation, the general wellbeing state, relaxing nervous athletes and stimulating those who are too relaxed.

The sports massage goals are many. Some rely on scientific assumption, while others come from observations and experience.

The principle of sports massage

The goal of sports massage is to increase the ability of the athlete’s performance and to prepare him for a correct and safe training, as with appropriate techniques it is possible to drastically reduce the possibility to suffer from trauma during the physical activity and therefore it plays a crucial role in the preparation of the athlete’s system.

Physiotherapist giving leg massage to a woman in clinic

The sports massage before the competition: why is it recommended?

Sports massage in preparation to a race has functions of warming-up, since it generates heat that increases the temperature of the skin and muscles, excites muscle function by increasing the capacity of action and puts into operation the reflects, so that the muscles are put in a state of receptivity. They will be prepared to contract with the utmost speed and strength and joint mobility will be improved. During the execution of this heating massage, you need to care about all the functional and psycho-emotional athlete state, physical fatigue, the presence of trauma not completely healed.

The duration of the massage, therefore, depends on the type of sport and the individual characteristics of the athlete. The treatment, however, should be simple, should not tire the athlete and must include a minimum of variants for a duration of 5/15 minutes.

Joints which are subject to greater load need an accurate massage treatment. The procedure consists of friction mobilizing ligaments for each joint and muscle attachments, and finishes with stretching and mobilization. In order to obtain the maximum articular excursion, especially if there are old lesions.

It’s recommended that at the end of the treatment the athlete remains well covered and moves calmly, continuing the active muscle warm and articulate with appropriate exercises and postures that achieve the maximum strains.

The massage is not a replacement for the warming-up periods, which have a primary function also preventive against accidents. In fact, the general and the specific physical exercises for each sport, they increase muscle temperature up to a proper level for the performance of oxygenation processes. The more tissues are warm, the lower is the probability of suffering trauma and the better the chance of a good performance during the race.

Here are all the benefits of sports massage

Its benefits are many and derive from two special conditions:

– direct action which comes from an increased blood flow, resulting in local hyperthermia;

– indirect action which comes from the simultaneous excitation of nerve endings and subsequent stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

From these two assumptions, all the other beneficial properties attributed to sports massage come. Among which:

– reduction of tension in the muscles

– decrease in plasma levels of cortisol and serotonin, thus reducing the state anxiety and mood enhancement; This decrease is linked to an increase of circulating endorphins and subsequently the inhibition of pain sensation

– reduction of heart rate and blood pressure

– stimulation of the local microcirculation

– resulting draining effect and accelerated removal of lactic acid and metabolic waste produced during exercise

– decongestion and relaxation of the tissues

– recovery from muscle contractures

– injury Prevention

– muscle preparation to sport activities.

So, the sports massage can be performed at any time: after a race, between a competition and the other or prior to the race itself.

The positive effects of a sports massage are enhanced by the use of products based on essential oils during treatment. You can find numerous types of cosmetics from various properties: heating, regenerating, firming, anti-fatigue, etc. It is advisable to massage the lower area upwards, until completely absorbed.

Anyone can benefit from this particular type of massage, regardless of age, type of sport and performance level.

Are you interested in massage treatments? Check out our brand new articles about foot massage!

Foot massage: how to re-establish energy equilibrium

Foot reflexology chart maps

We’ve prepared a few step by step demonstration videos to let you discover how to immediately put these techniques into practise.

You’ll find all the materials clicking on the green button below:

 

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