Sports massage is a type of massage where the soft connective tissues of the body (that is, tissues such as skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia, which have not hardened into bone and cartilage) are stimulated to enhance performance in physical activity. It is an important branch of sports therapy used in rectifying problems, easing tension, and correcting imbalances in soft tissue caused by repetitive use, strenuous physical activity, or trauma. As the name suggests, sports massage is mostly practiced on athletes to help them exercise better, increase flexibility, prevent injuries or help speed up the healing process after a sports injury.
Sports massage therapy was developed by Pehr Henrik Ling (1776-1839), a Swedish gymnastic instructor who pioneered the teaching of physical education in Sweden. The techniques used in sports massage vary depending on the nature of the injury sustained by the athlete, the targeted muscle area and the type of sport the athlete plays. It also borrows techniques and practices from other physical health fields such as physiotherapy and osteopathy.
Some of the techniques used in sports massage include
- Positional release
- Soft tissue release
- Fascial release
- Neuromuscular technique
While sports massage incorporates some activities and techniques of deep tissue massage, they are not the same. It is important to note that sports massage can benefit athletes and non-athletes alike. However, it is not a relaxing type of massage. It can be very strenuous or even painful in some other cases. This therapy specifically aims to enhance the performance, recovery, and relaxation of frequent and intensely physically active people. It includes amateur athletes, fitness exercise newcomers, and professional athletes. It can be utilized as a warm-up activity, pre-workout stretch, or postwork-out stress relief activity.
Some of the many benefits of sports massage therapy include
- Increased flexibility and relief of stiffness and discomfort
- Decreased muscle tension and spasms
- Better sleep
- Increased sense of well being
- Increased joint range of motion
- Relaxed nerves
- Removal of toxins
- Improves blood pressure and heart rate.
Sports massage therapy requires the services of a highly trained health and wellness professional who can identify the frequency and types of physical activities of the athletes and use the information to apply proper massage techniques to the muscle area. Here are some of the best places to get a sports massage Denver, CO-based.
Sports massage therapy requires a lot of skill and training due to its sometimes complex processes. Many states often require sports massage therapists to be certified and licensed by recognized health organizations, like the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). These organizations also help improve their careers and improve their resumes by providing helpful resources about employment opportunities, training programs, specialized certifications, and continuing their education. Sports massage therapy is a profession that is very important and is in demand to keep athletes as healthy as possible.