Specific sports massage techniques are used to increase range of motion, flexibility and goals associated with strength training. Supports wellness/fitness, reduces the demands activity puts on the body, increases the ability to perform, enhances recovery from activity, and shortens recovery time for a person who participates in an activity, whether amateur or professional.
The most common Sports Massage applications are Pre-Event, Post-Event and Recovery Massage.
Pre-event massage is typically performed right before an athlete is about to warm up for competition or workout. This is to assist the muscles to warm up by increasing circulation and increase flexibility. The sports massage therapist used quick strokes to stimulate the muscles, blood follow, flexibility and range of motion.
Post-event massage is performed right after the athlete has finished their competition or workout after the cool down. This is to help decrease soreness, cramping or any soreness. The sports massage therapist strokes are slower than the pre-event massage strokes.
Recovery massage is completed at least a day after the athlete has completed their competition or workout. This is to help increase range of motion, reduce soreness, restore blood flow and promote lymphatic drainage.
Sports Massage Research
Brummitt, J (2008) The Role of Massage in Sports Performance and Rehabilitation: Current Evidence and Future N Am J Sports Phys Ther. 2008 Feb; 3(1): 7–21. PMCID: PMC2953308
Athletes were randomized into one of two treatment groups; a group receiving a “classic” massage and a group receiving dynamic soft tissue mobilization (DSTM). The classic massage consisted of effleurage, kneading (petrissage), and shaking techniques for an 8-minute treatment. The DSTM treatment consisted of classic massage strokes and a dynamic treatment approach. The dynamic technique was performed using a “long slow stroke” with a fisted hand applied both longitudinally and across the muscle fibers. This technique was applied while first passively extending the subject’s knee, then while the subject actively extended their own knee, and finally while the therapist passively extended the knee while the subject performed an eccentric contraction of their hamstring muscle.
The DTSM group demonstrated significantly greater increases in hamstring flexibility as compared to the classic approach or the control group. While the DTSM protocol had a greater effect on immediate hamstring flexibility gains (post-test measurements conducted 90-seconds after treatment)