Sports massage is a deeper form of massage involving the manipulation of soft tissue, such as muscles and other non boney structures. These techniques can be used prior to an event but are more commonly used in assisting recovery from a person engaged in regular physical activity. The recovery period is fundamental in preventing maladaptations and imbalances of soft tissues from accumulated psychological and physiological stresses induced by training loads.
The evidence on the effects of sports massage is increasing and listed below:
- creates a physiological and psychological sense of readiness for an athlete pre event
- increases in local blood circulation
- increases in muscle temperature
- hastens delivery of oxygen to muscles
- enhances delivery of protein and other nutrients
- increases flexibility
- improves mood state
- decreases exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation
- significant reduction in DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
- reduces muscle oedema (swelling)
- lowers perceived pain post exercise
- decreases perception of fatigue induced by physical exercise
Sports massage is not only for sports participants but for anyone who has increased muscular tension from the modern stresses and strains of everyday work, more commonly from sedentary desk/computer work and sustained sitting postures.