When it comes to the word ‘massage’, we all know what it means – mainly because it is believed that almost half of the Australian population has had one.
But there are actually several different main types of massage therapy.
The most popular is the so-called Swedish massage, which is perfect for relaxation and stress relief. A deep tissue or remedial massage, on the other hand, is a stronger brand of therapy to target those aches, pains and niggles.
But you’ll also be aware that people who enjoy sports – both amateurs and professionals – can and should rely heavily on massage as a central pillar of their training program.
Very simply, sports massage does not just mean ironing out niggles, treating injuries or tuning up the body – it means all of the above, with the aim of enhancing the athlete’s performance.
Therefore, it means a range of techniques and treatments are used, with an emphasis on what the individual athlete specifically needs for their specific goals.
Precisely when an athlete presents for a sports massage – that is, before or after an event, during an intense, taper, maintenance or recovery period, or when injured and rehabilitating – is fundamental.
The techniques used will therefore depending on the athlete’s program and condition, and what precisely they want to achieve. For instance, the athlete may need to focus on flexibility, on reducing fatigue, improving endurance, preventing injuries or preparing for optimal performance both in body and mind – or a combination of some or all of the above.
What else might the athlete be seeking?:
- Recovery from heavy workouts or preparing for hard training sessions with the aim of preventing injuries.
- Work on muscle strains and pains and other soft-tissue niggles.
- Extend athletic careers by focusing on stretching, flexibility and strength.
Therefore, the sports massage therapist may use a range of different techniques, including:
- Effleurage: Skimming or stroking to warm, relax, stretch and stimulate the muscles, removing waste products.
- Petrissage: Kneading and compressing the soft tissue more deeply, to further increase tissue mobility and move tissue fluids.
- Frictions: Forceful back and forth motions to disrupt the tissues, break down scar tissue, restore elasticity, and stimulate blood flow and healing.
- Vibration, shaking, compression, stretching, and many other supporting techniques, like acupuncture and dry needling, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, acupressure, sports and kinesiotaping, and the ever more popular methods of cupping.
So that’s where intent comes in, as it is crucial to note that there is no such thing as a generic ‘sports massage’. The athlete and therapist therefore need to decide unanimously in advance about what physiological changes are being targeted or sought. And, post-massage, a discussion about whether the desired change was achieved, and how to proceed in future sessions.
Get a Sports Massage at Home
So, whether a pro athlete or a weekend warrior, every sportsperson knows that their body is a temple. But with a busy lifestyle, a mobile sports massage from one of the best therapists in Sydney & Melbourne – who could be knocking on your house or hotel room door within an hour – is the perfect way to prioritise your body within any schedule. Book a session with Blys at getblys.com.au/book