What is a sports massage?
Traditionally Sports Massage is done on-site at athletic events such as marathons and can be segmented into 3 different types. However in recent years the massage industry has started to introduce Sports Massages into spas and massage studios. For the sake of modality accuracy we will give brief descriptions of them all.
Pre-event Sports Massage usually consist of passive range-of-motion and compressions with the goal of warming up the athlete for the event. Usually these sessions are done on a table and last about 5-15 minutes.
Mid-event Sports Massage is generally similar to pre-event but with the goal of keeping the athlete warm and active using some of the similar techniques as in pre-event. Usually these sessions can be done in as little as 1 minute or as long as 10 minutes, depending on the sport and how long of a break the athlete has before having to go back into competition.
Post-event Sports Massage can use techniques from the previous two phases. However, passive and active stretching may be introduced into the massage. The goal of post event massage is to aid in the recovery of the athlete. This is the most common phase that most people will be offered at an event.
It is important to note that usually it’s only professional sports teams and competitors that get any sort of pre or mid event Sports Massage. Although there are exceptions.
Sports Massage in a traditional massage therapy setting:
Much like other massage modalities you will often see Sports Massages in a traditional massage setting done in typical time durations (i.e. 30, 60, 90 minute sessions). The goal is more recovery focused for professional and amateur athletes. Therapist usually blend some mix of deep tissue, range-of-motion, compressions, muscle-warming, and or table-thai techniques. This type of Sports massage can be performed with or without clothing, determined by client comfort and the therapist technical approach.