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 Medical Massage & Rehabilitation

Sports Therapies

What is Sports Massage?

Sports Massage is aform of massage and is used before, during, and after athletic events. The purpose of the massage is to prepare the athlete for peak performance, to drain away fatigue, to relieve swelling, to reduce muscle tension, to promote flexibility and to prevent injuries. Each type of sport has different demands on the players. Each sport uses muscle groups in a different way. Sports massage is designed to address those specific concerns and may differ according to the sport the athlete plays. Sports massage can be aimed to help heal strained muscles and allow healthy ones to reach peak performance and maintain it while minimizing the risk of injury.

There are four types of sports massages:
  • Pre-event -- a short, stimulating massage 15 - 45 minutes before the event. It is directed toward the parts of the body that will be involved in the exertion.
  • Post-event -- given within an hour or two of the event, to normalize the body's tissues.
  • Restorative -- given during training to allow the athlete to train harder and with less injury.
  • Rehabilitative -- aimed at alleviating pain due to injury and returning the body to health.

What Happens When You Exercise?

Regular exercise increases vigor and promotes a general sense of well-being. If done in moderation, it can help relieve the effects of stress, and has been linked to decrease in psychological depression.

Regular exercise produces positive physical results like increased muscular strength and endurance, more efficient heart and respiratory functioning, and greater flexibility.

These positive physical changes occur as the body gradually adapts to the greater demands put on it by regular exercise. The body improves its functioning to meet the challenges placed on it.

Conditioning involves three steps or phases:
  • Tearing Down Phase-when one pushes the physical limits
  • Recovery Phase - Important for the rebuilding phase and to obtain the full benefits of a conditioning program, and
  • Buildup Phase - when the system adapts to the new demands placed on it.

The 'tearing down' phase of the adaptation process often involves stiffness and soreness, especially when the amount of movement is significantly increased from what the body has been used to in the past.

Delayed muscle soreness (24-48 hours after exercise) may be caused by any of a number of different factors. Some possible causes are minor muscle or connective tissue damage, local muscle spasms that reduce blood flow, or a build up of waste products (metabolites) from energy production.

Trigger points or stress points may also cause muscle soreness and decreased flexibility. These points are specific spots in muscle and tendons which cause pain when pressed, and which may radiate pain to a larger area. They are not bruises, but are thought by some to be small areas of spasm. Trigger points may be caused by sudden trauma (like falling or being hit), or may develop over time from the stress and strain of heavy physical exertion or from repeated use of a particular muscle.

Heavily exercised muscles may also lose their capacity to relax, causing chronically tight (hypertonic) muscles, and loss of flexibility. Lack of flexibility is often linked to muscle soreness, and predisposes you to injuries, especially muscle pulls and tears. Blood flow through tight muscles is poor (ischemia), which also causes pain.

Regular sports massage can:
  • Reduce the chance of injury, through proper stretching and event preparation, and through deep tissue massage
  • Improve range of motion and muscle flexibility, resulting in improved power and performance
  • Shorten recovery time between workouts
  • Maximize the supply of nutrients and oxygen through increased blood flow
  • Enhance elimination of metabolic by-products of exercise
Join our personal wellness therapists at Scot Trahan Medical Massage & Rehabilitation to customize your sports wellness sessions.

Information taken from: holisticonline.com,mamashealth.com, about.com, and personal experiences through years of treatments.