What is Sports Massage?

Brianna Clark
February 2, 2017

Sports massage therapy is not simply a deep tissue massage. There may be times where deep pressure is used, however, many other techniques are used to achieve specific results. A massage therapist trained in sports massage will use compression, range of motion techniques, friction and stretching among other treatment tools.

The techniques used in sports massage are unique to the needs of the recipient. From hardcore athletes to those who jog or swim leisurely, sports massage is a necessity to maintain the health of the soft tissues of your body. The aim is to help the body recover from activity, assist in preventing sports injuries and promote overall muscle and tendon health.

Like exercise, the benefits of receiving sports massage are cumulative. The more regular you are at getting treatments, the more advantage you’ll experience over time. It is a valuable investment in athletic performance and recovery.

picture of person getting massage where lactic acid buildup is

What is Sports Massage?

Dedicated athletes and weekend warriors alike benefit from sports massage. Muscles and connective tissue relax due to the deeper and fast-paced techniques used in sports massage. Stretches are incorporated into the session thereby lengthening tight muscles. Sports massage prevents injury, enhances performance and relieves muscle soreness from training.

Sports Massage and Recovery

Making any sort of gains in exercise, fitness and sports require dedication to pushing the body to its limits regularly. The single most important concept to master in order to continue progressing while avoiding pain and injury is the art of recovery. Allowing adequate time for the systems of the body to recover is crucial for overall performance.

Sports massage aids in athletic recovery by increasing circulation to the soft tissues of the body. By increasing the rate at which blood is circulated, oxygen and nutrients are able to heal tissue at a quicker rate. This will alleviate soreness as well as get you back to activity sooner.

The Anatomy of Wellness also offers lower-body compression therapy as part of an overall athletic recovery treatment plan. Compression therapy works along with the same principles as sports massage to aid in recovery.

What Does Sports Massage Do?

Prevent Sports Injury

Tight muscles are more likely to become strained or “pulled”. This is because they are unable to adapt properly to lengthening and contracting on command. A muscle will be strained when it cannot elongate properly to its normal length or when it is pushed past its normal length too quickly. Additionally, a muscle’s lengthening capability decreases when it has been tight for a long time. A common example is when a hamstring muscle is tight due to improper body mechanics or past injury. The athlete takes off in a sprint, bringing the hip into flexion and rapidly elongating to hamstrings when a sudden pain is felt just below the glute muscle. Now training must be decreased or altogether suspended while the athlete heals.

Enhance Performance

Massage directly affects the circulatory system by dilating blood vessels. This reaction encourages venous blood flow back to the heart. Proper blood flow delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and promotes the removal of waste products and toxins.

Keeping muscles from becoming shortened and tight enhances range of motion and also flexibility. Massage techniques are used to loosen tight muscles and also free tissue adhesions that limit movement. Regular massages are the key to enhancing athletic performance. Add kinesio tape to your session to prolong results from the massage and reduce pain.

Reduce Muscle Soreness

Anyone who has been through a strenuous workout is familiar with the soreness that sets in days later. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) sets in hours to days after a workout and can be very uncomfortable. With a sports massage, the pain can be dramatically reduced far quicker than without treatment. This is especially true if you are scheduled for a treatment directly after your activity.

compression therapy for athletic recovery

Who gets sports massage?

Someone training for his or her first 5k

A golfer who can’t seem to get the twist through their spine they need for the perfect swing


Marathon runners

Spartan Racers

Rock Climbers

Regular gym goers

Mall walkers who twisted an ankle rounding The Pretzel Maker

Any athlete at any level looking to enhance performance and well-being!

Regular treatments go a long way in the maintenance of a healthy body. Treating injuries to reduce pain is a wonderful thing. Preventing injuries related to physical activity is even better!

Benefits of Sports Massage

  • Reduces muscle tension
  • Corrects improper muscle tone
  • Increases range of motion
  • Decreases muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise
  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Helps prevent injuries when massage is received regularly
  • Improves sleep and mood
  • Decrease muscle spasms
  • Decreases recovery time between activity

The Lactic Acid Myth

It is a common misconception that the soreness you feel in the days following an intense workout is due to lactic acid and that utilizing massage therapy will “flush out” said acid. In fact, lactic acid is responsible for the immediate burn you feel during a set of weight lifting just before the muscle fatigues. After that, lactic acid dissipates in the muscle as the body processes the material, therefore, no flushing is needed. Post-exercise soreness is actually caused by eccentric (lengthening) exercise, which causes small-scale damage (microtrauma) to the muscle fibers.

A Holistic Approach to Pain and Performance

Our number one goal at The Anatomy of Wellness is to help our clients relieve pain and improve athletic performance. We take great protein setting ourselves apart from other businesses by analyzing the cause of and preventing soft tissue pain and injury. In addition to massage therapy, analyze functional movement patterns to ensure you are moving safely and efficiently. Improvements are made through tailored massage therapy and corrective exercise plan.

Using this approach gets us amazing, long-lasting results with our clients!

Schedule your Integrative Therapeutic Massage appointment, and we will tailor a session specific to your needs.

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