Sports therapists do sports massage. It seems simple enough but you may actually begin to
wonder, what is a sports massage? what makes it different from a Swedish massage or
deep tissue work, if anything at all?
The difference comes not from the style of the application, but the focus of the application.
Put simply, sports massage is the practice and application of massage therapy techniques.
These are used strategically on certain muscles or groups of muscles to heal and rehabilitate the
muscle, preparing them for future games or activity. In this regard a sports therapist is very
similar to a massage therapist.
Why could I use a sports massage before a game/event?
A sports massage before an event is a great way to prepare your muscles for the work
ahead. Pre-event massages are generally lighter and use repetitive movements and friction
to slowly ‘warm’ the musculature. Benefits of this include a lower probability of injury and a
greater generation of muscular power
Why could I use a sports massage after a game/event?
Sports massage post event is an incredibly efficient way of clearing lactic acid from the
muscles, and providing them with a slow wind down from your activity. Clearing lactic acid is
beneficial as it aids in prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness, which can affect
training or other events thereafter. These massages are generally longer and consist of
longer sweeping motions from the area towards the direction of the heart, aiding blood flow
back to it.
What if I don’t have a massage?
It certainly isn’t the end of the world if you don’t have a massage around a game or event.
There are other ways to reduce muscle soreness and prevent injuries such as mobilisation
exercises, stretching and foam rolling to name a few.
So why is a massage better?
The main benefit of a massage is in its application. It is a specific and targeted approach
from a professional who can reach and treat all affected areas in the most efficient and
advantageous way for the client. Some areas may be more difficult for yourself to reach or
just downright impractical to treat yourself. Not only this but a therapist will give you advice
going forward and steer you in the right direction to improve your performance and decrease
likelihood of future injury.