If you’ve never heard of sports massage, the explanation is fairly simple. Athletes who train vigorously, and perform at a high level in their sport (or sports) of choice, end up putting a lot of strain on their bodies. This is true for many different sports, from soccer to rock climbing to marathon running.
As a result of the strain, many athletes benefit from sports massage in order to help recovery, prevent injuries, and boost performance. Various techniques are employed by the sports massage therapists. These techniques are based on a deep understanding of anatomy, athletics, and the unique body of every athlete. Sports massage therapists are typically highly-trained and experienced – especially those that treat elite-level athletes.
As you probably know, many professional sports teams have their own health professionals on staff – including doctors, chiropractors, trainers, and massage therapists. Players on professional sports teams often have regular sports massage therapy treatments as a normal part of their routine. This makes sense when you think about how costly injuries can be at the professional level.
But is sports massage therapy only for athletes performing on professional or semi-professional circuits? Could it be useful for amateur athletes, or even people who simply lead very active lifestyles?
The answer is absolutely yes – and the reasons are many.
Sports massage therapy targets the unique stresses and strains associated with your workout regimen – whether that involves running, climbing, swimming, golfing, or countless other sports. Each activity presents unique strains and challenges, especially over time (e.g. people who play a lot of golf and tennis often develop symptoms in their shoulders, elbows or wrists). Sports massage is a way to address these problems before they develop. If you’ve already developed a specific problem as a result of your athletic activities, sports massage is a great way to control and resolve symptoms, so that you can get back to performing your best.
There is, however, some misunderstanding about sports massage – in particular, people want to know the difference between sports massage and deep tissue massage. While there is obviously some “crossover” between these two different types of massage, the essential difference is that deep tissue massage works on all the levels of tissue above the muscle, while sports massage treats the soft tissue (i.e. the muscle itself) in order to treat existing sports injuries and/or prevent new ones.
This type of work involves a very specific and deep knowledge of physiology in order to effectively work on the muscles without damaging soft tissue and causing further injury. That’s why sports massage therapists are specially-trained and experienced – they’ve worked with many different athletes before, and have refined their knowledge of how to deliver effective sports massage treatment for each individual athlete.
Whether you’re an elite professional athlete or just someone who loves to play your favorite sport, sports massage therapy has much to offer in terms of overall health and performance – but it’s important to find a therapist who really knows their stuff, and is able to deliver a high quality treatment based on your unique ody-type, athletic goals, and medical history.