A sports massage is a style of massage designed to improve athletic performance and prevent injuries. Sports massage is both a specific and general term so let’s explore what this means to different audiences.
Sports massage for competitive athletes
In Canada, there’s a specialized training program called the National Sport Massage Certification (NSMCP) that allows massage therapists to become certified sport massage therapists. Massage therapists with this designation help athletes at all levels prepare for training, competition, and recovery.
If you’re an athlete who trains for competitions, whether for fun or as a professional career, you may prefer working with certified sports massage therapists. They have specialized knowledge, experience, and training on and off the playing field.
Because sports massages are for enhancing performance and preventing injury, they’re typically used on event days, and regularly throughout training programs. Event-day sports massages take place right before an event, between same-day events, and after an event.
Sports massage for active people
You don’t have to be an Olympian to enjoy the benefits of a sports massage. If you’re physically active for fun, stress relief, or to maintain your muscle mass and bone density, you likely don’t need the same specialized treatment as a competitive athlete.
However, you’ll still feel better by treating aches, pains, knots, and muscle tightness—which is what registered massage therapists are trained to do. Your massage therapist will take a sports-massage approach to your treatment, so you can maintain your active lifestyle, injury-free. This may include stretching tight muscles, stimulating inactive muscles, and reducing muscle tension.
What to expect with a sports massage
- Questions about what’s bothering you – Before your massage, your massage therapist will ask you about your physical activities, and what symptoms you’re experiencing.
- A focused treatment area – Unlike stress-relief massages where you get a whole-body experience, a sports massage is focused on your trouble areas and the corresponding trigger points.
- Multiple massage methods – Your treatment will likely involve a variety of massage techniques and pressure levels to achieve the relief you’re looking for. As always, communicate clearly with your massage therapist about any pain or discomfort.
- Muscle tenderness – A sports massage is a no-nonsense treatment that can involve stimulating trigger points or stretching tight areas. It’s common to feel a little sore the day after a sports massage.
Whether you’re a competitive athlete or a casual exerciser, muscle strains and soreness impair your ability to keep doing what you love to do. Fortunately, sports massage is an effective way to manage the ups and downs of an active lifestyle.
We’re here to help you feel your best. If your sporty lifestyle is leaving you with some unwanted aches and pains, give us a call to book a restorative sports massage.
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