Sports massage can occur in a variety of different settings and administered at different times with different goals. In general, there are four times to administer sports massage:
Pre-event Massage– Pre-event massage generally occurs at the sports event, 20 to 30 minutes before the event. Using specific techniques such as friction to help warm muscles up, compression to increase circulation in specific muscles and range of motion to assist in joint mobility, pre-event massage focuses on the muscles that will be stressed most during competition.
Post-event Massage– Also performed at the event site, post-event massage is aimed at helping the athlete recover from muscle soreness or cramping while reestablishing range of motion and circulation. Post-event massage might consist of compressive effleurage for calming the nervous system and pushing fluid, stretching and petrissage to relieve muscular tension, compression for spreading muscle fibers and restoring blood flow, broadening strokes to lengthen tight muscles, and reciprocal inhibition to relieve muscle cramps.
Maintenance Massage– Administered in between competitive events, a sports maintenance massage is part of a wellness program that targets an athlete’s flexibility, strength, biomechanics, coordination, stress patterns, posture, existing injuries and scar tissue.
Rehabilitation Massage– Because muscles worked to their limit tear, cramp, ache and bruise, the most cautious athlete can gain benefits from rehabilitation massage. Sports massage should only be administered in unison with proper medical care, rehabilitative work can dramatically ease pain and speed healing. Rehabilitation sports massage techniques could include effleurage, neuromuscular therapy, compression, cross-fiber friction, lymphatic drainage and trigger point massage.
Professional athletes are grateful for the service. Since their bodies are in top physical condition, injury recovery time is dramatically reduced. Professional athletes’ careers depend on their body’s optimal ability to function. Especially because the benefits of sports massage are immediately recognized, professional athletes have an extremely high likelihood of treatment success.