Updated May 7, 2017
Athletes and physically active people have many diverse rituals that they perform in order to prepare themselves for the big game, competition, or maybe even just a gym session. Stretching, getting themselves pumped with music (maybe even a particular song), physical warmups, or even prayer are all employed by athletes hoping to give their best performance. If you are an athlete, maybe you do some of these things, or maybe you have another pre-game ritual not listed. Let me ask you this – have you ever thought about getting a massage to improve your performance?
When most people think of massage, they think of a relaxed setting in a quiet room designed to put them to sleep. They think of a gentle touch aimed at calming the brain and quieting the body. It’s true that, at least in the Western world, this is the most common type of massage. It’s referred to as a Swedish massage, although most people just think of it as “massage.” However, there are different modalities of massage, each aimed at reaching a different goal.
You might be surprised to learn that massage therapy can actually get you pumped up for an athletic event through a modality called sports massage. Unlike other forms of massage, sports massage can be done with the recipient fully clothed.
There are technically two types of sports massage, pre- or post-event.
As you may have guessed, pre-event sports massage is aimed at preparing your body for physical activity. The goal is to warm up, lengthen, and broaden the muscles, and increase blood flow. This is done by applying techniques such as compression, friction, stretching and range of motion. This type of massage is fast-paced and can be done with the recipient in a laying or seated position. This type of massage should be performed thirty minutes to two hours before the game or event.
Other than prepare the body, pre-event massage can also prepare the mind. It can provide the athlete with confidence to know that muscle tensions are being corrected, allowing their muscles to perform at their peak.
Post-event massage is aimed at bringing the athlete into a calmer state of mind, reducing the tension built up in their muscles, and increasing their circulation. It is usually performed anywhere from thirty minutes to twenty-four hours after the game or event. Again, the athlete can be clothed, and the massage can be fast-paced. This type of massage employs stroking and kneading of muscles, as well as range of motion and stretching to reduce stiffness. Post-event massage can be very vital to the healing of athletes.
In between events and games, regular Swedish massage can help keep the muscles limber, strong, and healthy. It can help release built-up tension and release knots that restrict the movement of limbs and cause pain for the athlete. When your body does so much for you, it can be a nice treat for you to do something for your body.
Massage can be a very strengthening addition to any athlete’s pre- and post- game rituals. It is fast-paced and energizing, calming and tension-reducing. Athletes can benefit greatly from receiving sport’s massage.