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Sports Massage - Is it only for athletes?

Posted by Kerry Blake
Kerry Blake
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on Tuesday, 19 August 2014
in Health Blogs

Sports massage is a technique that is used to stretch the connective tissues and the muscles of the body aimed at enhancing performance. It differs from a Swedish massage in that it is a deeper form of massage. The Sports Massage therapist can effectively locates numerous areas of tension whether it is a sporting injury or tension caused by other physical activities such as lifting loads or gardening (McGillicudy, 2011).

For high-end athletes, sports massage is part of the regimen in which athletes use to keep in good shape. It reduces soreness and keeps the muscles and tendons strong and flexible. Among the athletes, it prepares for optimal performance, maximize training results, and promotes quick recovery after an event. The The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) research concluded that sports massage prevents injury when massage is received regularly.

There has been a long held assumption that Sports Massage is only for athletes. This is not the case despite the suggestion of the name. According to Ylinen and Cash (2011), sports therapy has made drastic advances in recent years and is no longer the preserve of the professional athletes. Having said that, sports massage is not only for athletes. It has its benefits for recreational enthusiasts as well. It is for everyone with pain, general aches, and tension.

Four main forms of sports massage

Sports massage takes four main forms. To start with, pe-event sports massage is directed towards the partthat will be of most use during an exercise. Second, a post-event sports massage is administered just before an event. Third, a restorative sports massage is given to decrease the rate of injury. Lastly, a rehabilitative sport massage is of most use in reducing and eliminating painas a result of an injury and alsobringing the body back toits health. Sports massage is highly recommended if one one has a specific problem for example a tender knee as a result of running. In such a case, a movement therapist will be of much help in the identification of the problem area and rectifying any abnormality that pertains to movement. In addition, the therapist point of focus is the problem area as an alternative to a full body massage. This problem area may include a pulled hamstring or a frozen shoulder.

Sports Massage is not only used when one faces an injury. It can also be applied in addition to a physical activity routine. In such a case, there is less frequency of injury, increased flexibility, improved performance, enhanced body awareness, and a state of mental and physical relaxation. According to massage therapists from Hong Kong, it stimulates circulation, relieves pain, relaxes muscle spasm, increases lymph flow, and breaks up fibrosis that binds the muscles together.


In conclusion, physiotherapists, doctors, coaches, and trainers should create an awareness that sports massage is of benefit to both the athletes and non-athletes. One does not have to be a sports person to benefit from a sports massage. Overall, it is a great and effective way of eliminating general aches and pains for both athletes and non-athletes.


- McGillicuddy, M. (2011). Massage for sports performance. Champaign: Human Kinetics.
- Ylinen & Cash, (2011). Sports massage. London: Routledge.

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