Massage is a therapeutic technique widely used worldwide to treat and prevent multiple pathologies. There are remote historical data, before 2000 BC through ancient Greece, in which some massage techniques were already used in preparing the first Olympic athletes. Even the gladiators of the Roman era, to name a few ancient cultures, are why massage has endured for its excellent results over time.
Currently, sports massage is widely used since it consists of a series of techniques that aim to prepare the athlete before, during, and after sports activity to recover their physical condition quickly.
Benefits of sports massage
- Reactivates blood and lymphatic circulation
- Alleviate the pain
- Relax the muscles
- Prepares the muscle for sports activity
- It provides emotional balance to the athlete as it reduces anxiety through relaxation.
- Prevents the appearance of injuries
- Increases muscle temperature
- It provides a feeling of well-being
- Arterial hypertension
- Vascular injuries, such as deep vein thrombosis or phlebitis.
- Very sensitive skin prone to irritation or allergies
- Unconsolidated fractures
- Blood clotting disorders such as hemophilia.
Differences between sports massage with other massages
The particularity of sports massage is that it seeks the activation of muscle fibers. A relaxing massage is not the same as a pre-sports massage. It is aimed that the athlete, with all his energy at 100% for the competition, generates vasodilation and reduces muscle fatigue. In turn, some stronger techniques are used in pressure and depth since the objective is to reach deep fibers such as muscle fibers.
Unlike lymphatic drainage, which is based on superficial touches, to mobilize waste substances, or a slimming massage, which seeks to destroy localized fat deposits or adipocytes. In these cases, techniques such as knuckle kneading are used in problem areas of the body, accompanied by evacuative emptying.
In addition, sports massage focuses on treating possible injuries that develop in the sports gesture. The muscles involved in this activity will be affected depending on the sport the athlete practices.
Sports massage applications
Sports massage has three stages; each one is oriented to the same purpose: the optimal maintenance of the patient’s physical state, in this case, the athlete. But at the same time, they are very well differentiated since various techniques are applied in the corresponding phases of the sports activity.
This is a massage performed 15 to 45 minutes before a competition. Its purpose is to improve blood flow by activating circulation and neuromuscular excitability. It is performed from distal to proximal and is a vigorous massage with deep movements. This massage also seeks to improve contractility, elasticity, and muscle performance, preparing it for competition. It is advisable to accompany this massage with joint mobilizations.
In this phase, it is recommended to use the techniques of Efleuragge, knuckle kneading, ulnar percussion, palm percussion, and ending with vibration.
Post competition massage
This massage, as its name indicates, is performed after the competition. The objective is to relax the muscles, reduce muscle spasms, eliminate lactic acid retention and metabolic waste, and provide emotional balance to the athlete. This massage will be performed two hours after the sports activity. Soft, slow, and deep movements are performed; this massage can be accompanied by cryotherapy or local cold.
Rubbing and friction techniques will be combined with slow digital kneading, looking for areas of pain with the help of the thumbs. Additionally, by the finger pressure technique, you can add direct pressure or transverse friction on trigger points and areas of muscular or myofascial contractures. Finally, it’ll finish with an evacuative venous emptying massage.
Download or training massage
It is a massage performed as part of the training routine of athletes. It is carried out about once a week and lasts around forty minutes. Its objective is to prevent injuries, prepare the muscles for physical training, locate possible adhesions of myofibrils caused by muscle microtraumas, and maintain muscle elasticity.
This massage is deep and intense. The techniques of rubbing or stroking, compression, thumb kneading, percussion, and muscle stretching are recommended.
Techniques used in sports massage
The following techniques are the most used in sports massage: each stage of the athlete’s physical activity requires personalized treatment. In general, the massage should be a pleasant, rewarding experience. It should generate a sense of well-being for the patient regardless of whether the massage is to activate or relax the muscles. It is essential to have a suitable, clean environment, lighting, and a pleasant temperature for the patient, thus providing greater comfort to the athlete.
Rubbing or effleurage
This is a technique in which deep and uniform friction is performed with the entire palm and the fingers together on the patient’s skin by rubbing and sliding pressure, trying to reach the muscle tissue without generating a pain sensation in the patient. Performed from distal to proximal in order to activate blood flow as well as nerve endings, it must be done quickly and vigorously.
Kneading is a technique that attempts to mobilize the subcutaneous tissue by attempting all the skin folds. This message has a regenerating effect. It is applied by placing the base of the hand on the patient’s skin, placing the fingertips, and making circular movements counterclockwise with both hands, trying to create a fold of skin at the middle of the thumb and the other fingers. At the same time, the area is to be treated by the patient.
This same technique can be used by placing the knuckles instead of the fingertips. This technique is more invasive and is called knuckle kneading.
You can perform this massage by placing the middle finger on the index finger, applying pressure, and oscillating movements on the painful point. This pressure can last approximately two minutes.
Sports massage aims to maintain the athlete’s health in the best physical condition, always seeking to prevent injuries instead of treating them. Always remember you must have the supervision of a professional. You can get one by reaching out to us at Elite Healers Sports Message.