How Does A Sports Massage Work?

Sports Massage

Kaitlin Floyd

Kaitlin Floyd
Kaitlin Floyd

Updated on 12/7/2022

A "sports massage" is a concentrated and planned manipulation of the specific muscles required to participate in a particular sport. The sport in question determines these muscles. The term "sports massage" is used to refer to this specific category of therapy. It uses various techniques to alleviate muscle pain, speed up recovery, promote an overall range of motion and flexibility, and allow for safe and practical activity. These goals are accomplished by allowing the possibility of engaging in a safe and sensible move.

Clients who consult a sports massage therapist may gain support with achieving goals relating to training, rehabilitation, and pre-or post-performance preparation through the therapist's services. Most individuals who get sports massages are either professional or amateur athletes. However, anyone who exercises regularly can reap the benefits of getting this kind of treatment.

This page describes the purpose of sports massage and the many distinct types of massage that can provide the recipient with several benefits. In addition, it includes information on how one can find a sports massage therapist in their immediate region by detailing the steps you must take to do this.

What Is Sports Massage?

Sports Massage

Exercises and training methods of a wide variety are utilized in the hope of assisting an athlete's body to reach its potential in terms of both performance and physical conditioning while also lowering the athlete's risk of suffering from injury or discomfort and accelerating their rate of recovery. That is accomplished by utilizing a variety of different exercises and training methods. That is accomplished by participating in a variety of physical activities and employing a variety of training strategies.

During a sports massage session, careful consideration is given to an individual's particular needs, and those needs are responded to as best as possible. A number of the techniques that are used in sports massage are also used in the treatment of ailments that are not related to sports, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Sports massage is done on athletes to improve their performance in their chosen sport. These methods are utilized in a wide range of distinct clinical situations for physical therapy.

In sports massage, some examples of the many different types of massage treatments that can be performed are as follows:

  • A massage that is performed in the traditional Swedish manner.
  • Effleurage (stroking) (stroking)
  • Petrissage (kneading) (kneading)
  • Compression
  • Friction
  • Tapotement is the technical term for the thudding in a rhythmic pattern (rhythmic striking)
  • Vibration
  • Gliding
  • Stretching
  • Percussion
  • Trigger points

Deep Tissue Massage vs. Sports Massage

Sports Massage

Deep tissue massage is similar to sports massage in that it utilizes identical techniques, such as effleurage; however, deep tissue massage is typically applied as a firm-pressure massage to the entire body instead of a targeted massage to a specific area. That is because deep tissue massage addresses more deep muscle and connective tissue layers. That is because deep tissue massage aims to target the deeper levels of muscle and connective tissue found throughout the body. On the other hand, it might be more effective in treating persistent pain in the neck or lower back, as well as in managing the pain experienced during labor and delivery. In addition to this, there is some evidence that it is effective in the treatment of headaches.

Sports Massage Benefits

It has been reported that receiving a sports massage has many benefits, and these benefits have been entirely based on personal experience and objective observation. I'll explain my idea with a few examples, which are as follows:

  • Enhanced joint mobility and adaptability due to increased range of motion in the joints (ROM)
  • enhanced capabilities in terms of mobility and adaptability
  • The reduced strain on the muscles directly results from performing fewer reps or sets.
  • A reduction in the degree to which the excitability of the nervous system is manifested (nerves more relaxed)
  • A reduction in the occurrence of muscle cramps and spasms, as well as in their intensity
  • an increase in one's overall level of satisfaction and an improvement in their health
  • a reduction in feelings of anxiety and an increase in feelings of happiness
  • Better sleep

Sports Massage

The purported advantages that are listed below are some examples of those for which there is only a tiny amount of evidence produced from research to support them:

  • An increase in the overall amount of blood being moved via the circulatory system.
  • Through improved elimination of metabolic byproducts, one of the benefits of exercise is weight loss (lactic acid)
  • As a direct result of taking these precautions, the risk of injury has been significantly reduced.
  • There will be a shorter amount of time needed for rest and recovery in between sessions, which will save you both time and money.

Limits Of Sports Massage

In several studies, preventing delayed onset muscle soreness had a somewhat positive influence on recovery time. (DOMS). After engaging in rigorous activity, lowering the quantity of lactic acid in the muscles can be helped by doing a combination of sports massage and immersion in cold water. That has been proven to be a successful strategy in several studies. These inquiries were carried out in the United States of America as their area of choice.

The benefits of active recovery, as opposed to passive recovery, have been the topic of additional research, with some data showing that passive recovery may be the alternative you should choose if a choice is made.

Sports Massage

Research on sports massage concluded that the benefits of getting a massage in the hours leading up to competition are less cut and dried than one might imagine. Even though getting a massage does not hurt performance, this continues to be the case.

Additional research is required to comprehensively understand the plethora of beneficial impacts that a sports massage can have on the body.

Side Effects Of Sports Massage

To a large extent, except for a few exceptional cases, sports massage does not provide any potential dangers to the recipient's health.

One of the potential side effects of sports massage therapy is that soreness or stiffness may linger for one to two days following a treatment session. That is one of the possible negative consequences of the treatment, and this is one of the potential advantages that could result from receiving the treatment.

In addition, there is a good chance that the massage oils being used will cause some reaction on your skin, and you should not discount this possibility.

How Painful Is A Sports Massage?

A sports massage could make you feel uneasy during or after the treatment, but it shouldn't be too uncomfortable for you to bear to go through with it. You need to let your therapist know as soon as possible if you are suffering any form of pain that goes beyond what some people call "the good kind of hurt."

Finding A Sports Massage Therapist

Sports Massage

You must schedule your massage appointments with a sports massage therapist with the appropriate certificates. If you do so, you will be able to maximize the effectiveness of your sessions. These medical professionals have received specialized training to treat patients suffering from a wide variety of sports injuries and to assist in the prevention of future damages that may be caused by the activity or sport of your choosing. If you are injured while participating in the activity or sport of your choice, you should seek treatment from one of these professionals as soon as possible. If you get hurt while engaging in the game or activity of your choosing, you should get medical attention as quickly as possible from one of these professionals.

Visit the website of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) and navigate to the section of the website titled "Find A Nationally Certified Practitioner" to get started on your search for qualified massage therapists in your area. You can find qualified massage therapists in your area by clicking here. You can furthermore look for a massage therapist by using the database labeled "Find a Massage Therapist," provided by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA).

The American Medical Association (AMA) suggests that individuals should inquire about the following topics with their respective physicians:

  • Please briefly discuss your educational history as well as any qualifications that are relevant to the position.
  • Have you gotten the proper authority, whether it be a license or a registration, to practice massage therapy in this state so that you may get paid for it? (Because of the strict laws that regulate the massage therapy profession in those states, massage therapists are required to earn certificates in almost all jurisdictions before they can begin working in the industry.)
  • Which of the many sub-fields or specializations that fall under the umbrella of massage do you consider to be your own?
  • To what extent are you able to assuage my anxieties over the state of my health and my physical fitness?


Sports Massage

Even though some of the supposed benefits of sports massage do not appear to be supported by research, a considerable number of athletes continue to place a high value on having massages that are personalized to their particular sport. If you want to obtain general relaxation in addition to relief from tight and stiff muscles that have grown as a result of your workout, it could be helpful for you to do so if you want to achieve both of these goals simultaneously. If you want to accomplish both of these goals simultaneously, it could be helpful for you to do so.

Frequently Asked Questions