Sports Massage Treatments
Sports massage can benefit anyone from elite athletes and professional team sport players to regular gym goers, office workers and other members of the general public.
The benefits include:
- Increased flexibility
- Relief of aches and pains
- Stress reduction
- Boost to the circulatory system
- Reduced likelihood of injury
At CMS, we offer training towards gaining a Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage (Soft Tissue Therapy). This is popular with those already holding qualifications in personal training and other fitness diplomas, but it’s also open to anyone over 16 who is fit enough to carry out the physical requirements of sports massage.
Today’s blog looks at the different sports massage treatments and how they are applie to The Skin.
What are the main sports massage treatments?
- Vibrations, Shakings and Pressures
The core stroke for most massage techniques, effleurage is a flowing, gliding movement often used to start and end a massage, and to provide a break from deeper tissue massage.
As well as helping the client to unwind and allowing the spread of massage oil, it facilitates blood and lymphatic circulation, warming and relaxing the soft tissues.
The sports massage therapist uses a repeated, regular stroking movement on the tissues in the direction of the key lymph nodes, adding pressure as the strokes reach the heart and reducing pressure on the return strokes.
Effleurage should not be applied with pressure leading away from the heart, and work on a limb should start at the area closest to its attachment to the body before moving towards the distal points.
By varying the pressure, rhythm, speed and direction of movements, the sports massage therapist can achieve different effects.
Pressure – light pressure will achieve reflexive responses while stronger pressure will have mechanical effects
Rhythm – a steady rhythm to movements will help relax the client
Speed – as pressure is increased, it’s advisable to reduce speed to avoid the risk of stimulating the client’s “fight or flight” response
Direction – the general direction of effleurage should be towards the heart and lymphatic glands.
Petrissage is when tissues are kneaded, pressed, rolled and squeezed with the aim of stretching them.
The technique mobilises muscles or muscle groups, reducing tension and fibrous adhesions in muscles and muscle fascia, and increasing their mobility. It also improves circulation and the skin’s elasticity.
Using a small amount of lubricant so as not to affect grip, the sports massage therapist lifts the tissue with one hand and passes it to the other in a kneading motion. Other petrissage techniques include wringing, where each hand lifts and squeezes tissue as they move from one side to the other, and rolling, where lifted tissue is rolled from side to side.
Pressures, Vibrations and Shaking
Used alongside effleurage and petrissage, these are techniques designed to help relax or activate muscles.
Pressures – a gentle progression of compressing the soft tissues, working towards a natural “stop” point, when the pressure is held for a few seconds before being slowly released. This is believed to stimulate muscle fibres to relax.
Vibrations and Shaking – these techniques stimulate the nervous system, reduce muscle spasms, promote circulation and relax the tissues, preparing them for deeper work. Both techniques require a light touch.
This technique involves tapping the muscles, using the edges of the hand, fingertips or cupped hands. The aim is to stimulate muscle contraction and nerve endings, improve circulation and invigorate the client.
Other versions of tapotement include cupping, hacking, beating and pounding.