The success of any professional or amateur athlete is dependent on their body’s ability to function at optimal levels. To do that, the body has to be treated like a well-oiled machine one would find in a high-performance sports car. That will generally require certain types of “body maintenance” processes like sports massage therapy.

What is Sports Massage Therapy

As a therapeutic process, sports massage therapy combines a variety of massage techniques that therapists use to manually manipulate muscles and fascia. Fascia is the connective soft tissue that stabilizes and connects muscles around the joints. This therapeutic process is typically necessary because of the stress and strains certain athletic activities will put on muscles and connective tissues around the joints. The athletic activities to which we refer are activities such as running, jumping, stretching, and lifting.

As people partake in a particular athletic activity, they will typically employ a series of repetitive movements. These movements require the continual flexion/extension of muscles and muscle groups, which will eventually create imbalances in muscle fibers and soft connective tissues. Left untreated, these imbalances can result in higher injury risks, muscle dysfunction, and even pain.

Sports massage therapy seeks to correct these imbalances by increasing the flow of healthy blood into the targeted areas. Increased blood flow plays a big role in helping muscles and fascia self-repair and quickly regain strength. This does help keep muscle and fascia healthy, which aids in future performance and the lowering of injury risks.

Sports Massage Techniques

If you seek treatment from a sports massage therapist, you need to be aware this isn’t going to be a soothing massage. Instead, this is an intense message process that will require that massaging be done deeper than the surface of your body. The therapist needs to get down to the core of your muscles and joints to improve blood circulation into the targeted area.

To facilitate the sports massage therapeutic process, your therapist will choose from a variety of common massage techniques.

These massage technique options could include any or all of the following techniques:

Trigger pointing: Pressing on muscles to isolate the potential sources of muscle pain

Kneading: Circular and upwards massaging motions used to realign collagen fibers

Hacking/Chopping: Chopping of muscles with the side of the hands, which helps stimulate nerve function and blood circulation to the muscles

Wringing: Lifting a squeezing of muscles to improve muscle elasticity

Cupping: Suction cup applied to muscles for the purpose of stimulating blood circulation to the targeted area

Vibration: Quick and short massaging motions that create vibrations for the purpose of stimulating circulation and nerve response. Therapists might elect to use an electronic vibration device to facilitate this technique.

A therapist can employ any of these techniques prior to and after athletic performance.

The Benefits of Sports Massage Therapy

Beyond muscle and soft tissue (joint) health, the benefits of sports massage therapy also touch on your overall well-being in terms of your physiological and psychological health.

Here are some of the most prominent benefits of this therapeutic option:

  • Helps prevent the risk of future sports injuries
  • Increase blood flow to existing injuries for quick healing
  • Support and improve overall athletic performance
  • Helps to reestablish biomechanical function and muscle/soft tissue balance
  • Helps create psychological confidence in muscle/soft tissue strength
  • Provides pain relief for pain deriving from existing muscle injuries

If you, as an athlete or active person, have concerns about the health of your muscles and connecting tissues, we encourage you to contact our Denver Sports Massage Clinic. You can contact us via phone at (303) 630-9603.