Massage therapy has become a multi-billion dollar business all over the world. It benefits people from all walks of life and has even become an integral part of an athlete’s regimen.
Sports massage therapy was designed specifically to aid athletes to withstand rigorous training and the taxing sports events they specialize in. Here are a few facts that separate sports massage from other types of massages.
#1 Sports massage is different from typical relaxation massage
Massages are classified into two different categories: clinical and non-clinical. Relaxation massage, which is geared towards stress relief and overall wellness, is non-clinical, while sports massage falls under the clinical category.
A clinical massage is a form of medical care for patients needing specific solutions and uses a more localized approach. Clinical massages are often prescribed by doctors to go hand in hand with medical treatment for issues including, pain, injury, and illness.
#2 Sports massage requires specific knowledge and skills of various modalities
While relaxation massages are typically limited to applying varying levels of pressure on the body to calm the muscles, sports massage involves a more targeted approach that includes techniques and technology like:
- Remedial Massage
- Cold Compression Therapy
- LED Light Therapy
- Whirlpool Therapy
- Therapeutic Exercise
- Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy
- Lymphatic Drainage
- Deep Tissue Work
- Ultrasound Therapy
- Low-Level Laser Therapy
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- Therapeutic Ultrasound/TENS Combination Therapy
- Paraffin Therapy
#3 Improves athletic performance and aids recovery from injury
Sports massage was first introduced at the Olympics in 1924 by a runner, Paavo Nurmi (or the “Flying Finn”). He credited his wins of five gold medals to the special massage treatment offered by the massage therapist he brought with him. At the 1996 Olympics, sports massage officially became a core medical service for athletes in Atlanta. Since then, sports massage has continually been used to enhance the performance of all athletes Olympic or otherwise.
Sports massage has been scientifically proven to improve athletic performance, prevent injuries, and allow for quicker recovery after heavy training sessions. It relaxes the muscles, boosts blood circulation, and restores flexibility.
#4 Sports massage is an individualized approach
Different sports have different demands, affecting different parts of the body. A track and field runner (who is more prone to injuries like runner’s knee and hamstring pull) will have different needs compared to a tennis player (who is more susceptible to injuries like tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendinitis).
Clinical massages from a pain clinic in North York are meant to target problem areas, which means therapists need to consider the specific needs of each patient. Athletes have first to be assessed and evaluated before treatment can be recommended. Sports massage therapists are trained to uncover the potential problems an athlete may face and design a treatment plan that is custom-fit to the individual based on factors like the type of sports they play, their physical abilities, and the severity of their condition.
#5 Long Term Aid
While non-clinical massage therapy has short-term benefits, sports therapy aims to provide long-term aid.
Sports massage does not only offer relief but also takes account of the problem as a whole. A sports therapist’s goal is to help the body adapt to a more efficient system and corrects triggers to provide long-term relief.
Sports massage can benefit you whether you are a professional athlete or just dabble in the activity during the weekend. If you play sports, whether as a hobby or as a professional, you may need to look into The Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centres of Ontario to help you manage and prevent pain and injuries.