What is a sports massage — and what you need to know before getting one

Injury prevention and high performance

Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, if you’re a competitor you know how it feels to push your body to its absolute limit. If you spend enough time on the field, in the gym, or on the ice, chances are you’ll experience an injury or two.

Although being an athlete comes with certain occupational hazards, sports massage can be just the thing to help you manage these issues. Sports massage is a popular and useful tool to address those aches, pains and strains that keep you from performing at your best.

There are a number of common sports injuries that can be treated with sports massage, including:

  • Pulled, torn, or strained muscles
  • Tendon and ligament sprains
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Swimmer’s shoulder
  • Torn rotator cuff
  • Ankle sprains
  • Knee injuries
  • Tennis elbow
  • Shin splints
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    Monday to Thursday: 9:30 AM – 8:00 PM
    Friday: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM
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    What is a sports massage and how does it work?

    All massages at Elysian Wellness are performed by a registered massage therapist (RMT). Similar to a deep tissue massage, a sports massage combines deep, sustained pressure and fast strokes to encourage muscle release. Your massage therapist may supplement your treatment with other techniques like compression, pressure point therapy, and joint mobilization.

    Sports massage has a wealth of physical health benefits. Depending on your condition and what you want out of the treatment, these include:

    • Pain reduction
    • Improved focus
    • Injury prevention
    • Overall relaxation
    • Reduced inflammation
    • Improved athletic performance

    A sports massage has a key difference from a deep tissue massage. A deep tissue massage can be full-body or may focus on specific areas of the body. A sports massage exclusively targets specific groups of muscles that athletes use according to their sport.

    Not only does sports massage help your injuries heal faster, but it also increases blood flow around your soft tissues and improves your range of motion. This can decrease your risk of future injuries and help you perform better on game day.

    If you’re an athlete, it’s important to see a registered massage therapist who specializes in treating sports injuries. Elysian Wellness RMTs are licensed healthcare professionals with extensive education and experience in sports massage therapy. They’re trained to develop treatment plans based on your physical and biomechanical needs as an athlete.

    Some RMTs receive specialized training beyond general sports massage. A frequent runner, for example, may want to see a massage therapist with specialized training in orthopedic treatment and assessment. When booking your appointment, don’t be afraid to ask about their background and experience with your type of sports injury.

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    Before you arrive at your appointment, the most important thing is to make sure you’re well hydrated for your massage. Dehydration causes stiff muscles, which can result in a more painful massage. You should also avoid overeating before your appointment. Massage naturally slows down your digestive system, which can cause unnecessary discomfort on the table. Keep your pre-massage snack light and save that hearty meal for after your appointment.

    When it comes time to hop onto the table, remind yourself that a sports massage is different from a relaxation massage. There may be some discomfort. Your massage therapist will likely have you interacting physically and moving around during your session. Remember to communicate and let them know if the discomfort is becoming too severe.

    After your session, your RMT will most likely give you some techniques and exercises to perform at home. This is the best way to maintain the progress you’ve made during your appointment. Neglecting to keep up with your homework could cause your injury to flare up again, and you’ll be back at square one.

    Soreness after a sports massage is completely normal and will ease up after 24–48 hours. Take it easy for the first little while following your appointment. If a week goes by and you’re still feeling sore or tight, that could point to an area of weakness that needs more attention. In that case, we recommend that you discuss the issue with your massage therapist.

    Ready for a sports massage?

    For many athletes, sports massage therapy is a safe and effective way to treat injuries and prevent them from happening in the future. Consider incorporating massage to your training regimen and be open with your RMT about your problems and goals.

    Massage is no longer just a luxury — it is a worthwhile investment into your health and performance.

    Contact us today to schedule an appointment