Athletes, more than anyone else, are at an increased risk for injury due to the overuse of muscles. Whether it’s soccer, football, volleyball, basketball or any other sport, there are certain muscles that you use more depending on what you play. That’s where sports injury massage comes in.
Why are Massages Important for Athletes?
Depending on the sport and the muscles you tend to overuse while playing and practicing that sport, there are a variety of massage techniques that can be used to aid in the recovery process. In addition, massage therapy is beneficial to athletes—even if they haven’t injured themselves—because it can help relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. According to Multi-Care Medical, there are five ways sports injury massage can help athletes recover:
- Better overall nutrition in the muscles
- Improved muscle flexibility
- Shortened recovery time
- Help with preventing over-training
- Prevention of future injuries
What Massage Techniques are Used for a Sports Injury Massage?
Massage plays an important role as a supplement to standard injury rehabilitation procedures. By relaxing the muscles and aiding in circulatory movement, your body naturally produces more oxygen to your muscles and releases more nutrients to the vital organs and tissues within your body. While there are many techniques used for a sports injury massage, here is a brief introduction to five of the most popular.
1. Counter Torque Twisting
This method realigns the large muscle groups of limbs or joints, such as the biceps or knees. This technique is performed by applying medium pressure to the part of the injured limb that is below or above the injury. The massage therapist will then move each hand, in the opposite direction of the other around the axis of the injured knee or elbow joint.
2. Cross Fiber Friction
Through this massage technique, you will notice a release in the tension of your joints. It also decreases the scar tissue that builds up from previous injuries, which is extremely beneficial to the recovery process. This is performed by applying firm to medium pressure with their fingertips, thumbs or elbows on the injured limb or joint and moving them back and forth in a circular motion. This technique can leave you feeling sore afterwards, and is recommended that you ice the area immediately after getting the Cross Fiber Friction massage.
3. Deep Tissue
This is one of the more common and known massage techniques used in massage therapy. This technique is applied by using the elbows or forearms with firm pressure, in order to get to the deep tissue, where most massages don’t reach. It is important that extra precaution is taken to not press down on the tissue into the bone.
4. Hot Stone
This technique, as it states in it’s name, uses hot stones between the temperatures of 120 and 130 degrees to penetrate heat inside your muscles. It allows access to the deeper layers of the tissue quicker than any other sports injury massage technique. It has been proven to treat hypertension, loosen muscles and manage your pain.
This technique aids in removing waste from your body, relieving muscle tension and improving blood flow. Your massage therapist will use their hands and fingers to knead the body, particularly the part that is injured. Just like if you were kneading bread dough, the same movements of lifting, squeezing and releasing are applied.
You don’t need to have an injury, sports-related or otherwise, to benefit from one of the massages mentioned. While they are great for injuries, they are also great for helping you relax or unwind after a stressful day as they have been proven to aid in physical and mental health alike. Call us today at (303) 573-7484 to set up a massage and we can get you feeling healthy and happy again!