Guide to Sports Massage

It’s no secret that athletes or active individuals who participate in any type of routine sports or workout regimen can over-stress their bodies, which can lead to injuries or muscle fatigue. Massage therapy provides relief for tightened muscles, increases circulation and motion, speed the recovery process for some, and even prevent injuries when performed before physical activity. For these reasons, massage is something that many athletes should incorporate into their training programs. But not all massages are created equally when it comes to aiding active people. A study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness recommends these five techniques when treating athletes.

Effleurage

Uses slow and smooth strokes with the flat of the hand that are directed along the contour of the body. The strokes vary in depth and pressure and are meant to provide relaxation, warm the nerves and in the tissues, stimulate blood circulation, stretch muscles, and relieve painful or tense areas.

Friction

Targets the deep tissues by delivering quick, concentrated strokes with the fingertips or thumb applied in a circular manner. Friction massage can help breakdown scar tissue and separate adhesions.

Petrissage

Also referred to as kneading, is performed with one or both hands, and lifts the tissues away from the bone. Pressure can be light or firm, depending on the area the therapist is working on. The benefits include improved circulation and enhanced relaxation.

Tapotement

Delivered using the ulnar portion of the hands and involves rhythmic, light, and stimulating. This technique can increase circulation and loosen mucus to the lungs.

Vibration

Uses fine, shuddering movements that are delivered along the nerve path by the fingers or thumb. This movement increases relaxation, relieves tension, and increases blood supply.

Interested in a career in massage?

Whether working with athletes, acute pain clients, or just helping people relax, a career in massage offers many ways to bring the gift of human touch to others. LHAA offers highly comprehensive, and highly-focused massage therapy programs where students learn the science, practice, and business of massage therapy through highly focused classroom instruction as well as hands-on experience working with the public. Find out more information here.