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Sports Massage

Sports Massage is targeted to support fitness, help reduce the demands the sport places on the body, increase the ability to perform the sport, and enhance and shorten recovery time.

Who is an Athlete?  What is fitness? 


An Athlete is a person who participates in sports as an amateur or as a

professional. Athlete trains the nervous system and muscles to professional.

Athletes require precise use of their bodies. The athlete trains train the

nervous system and muscles to perform in a specific way. Often the

activities involves repetitive use of one group of muscles more than others,

which may result hypertrophy and changes in strength, movement patterns,

connective tissue formation, and compensation patterns in the rest of the

body. These factors contribute tot he soft tissue difficulties that often

develop in athletes.

Fitness is a lifestyle. It is a body/mind/spirit endeavor. One who os fit

typically lives a moderate life in a relative simple way. Characteristics and

behaviors enable a person to have the highest quality of life, and over all

state of health, and the maximum degree of adaptive capacity to respond

to the environment, as determined by genetic predisposition. There is a

balance in the human experiences of energy expenditure and recovery,

and the ease of this reflects one's fitness.

Fitness and Wellness represent relatively the same realm. Fitness is

necessary of  everyone's wellness, but the physical activity of an athlete

goes beyond fitness; it is performance based.  Performance is the capacity

to complete sport-specific activity with skill and competence. For optimal

performance, fitness is a prerequisite.

Because of the intense physical activity involved in sports, an athlete may

be prone to injury. Massage can be very beneficial for athletes if the

professional performing the massage understands the biomechanics

required by the sports. If the specific biomechanics are not understood,

massage can impair optimal function in the athlete's performance


When accumulated strain develop for any reasons, the fitness/ wellness

balance is upset. Illness and/ or injury can result. For competing athletes,

a major strain is the demand of performance. Performance exceeds fitness,

requiring increased energy expenditure, which is turn strains adaptive

mechanisms and increased recovery time. Fitness must be achieved before

performance, and fitness must be supported endure the ongoing strain of

peak performance, the highest of skill execution.

Those who has become deconditioned and are unfit owning to a

bad diet, lack of proper exercise, accelerated and multiple life

stresses, as well as other life style habits, will eventually experience

some source of illness or injury. This injury/ illness can be acute

such as sprained ankle, or of a chronic nature such as chronic

fatigue. There seem to be genetic tendency for a specific

breakdown to occur; this can be considered a genetic weak link.

It is likely that we all have these weak links, and that strain will

affect this area first.

Traumatic injury is injury caused by an unexpected event. Accidents are a

common cause of traumatic injury. Rehabilitation following this type of

injury often requires physical training. A person may not consider himself or

herself and athlete but may suffer the same results of stress joint pain, for

example. The goal of rehabilitation is function.


Contrary to general beliefs, athletes. especially competing athletes, may not

be fit or healthy. In fact, they may be quite fragile in their adaptive abilities,

both emotional and physical. This means that any demands to adapt,

including massage, should be gauged by the athlete's adaptive capacity.

Lack of understanding about the demands placed on athletes often leads to inappropriate massage care. The assumption is that these are strong,

healthy, robust individuals, but this is not always true. They may be fatigued,

injured, in pain, immunosuppressed, or emotionally and physically stressed

and truly unable to adapt to one more stimulus in their life. Unless these

stressors are recognized and principle of massage therapy are correctly

applied, athletes may be subject to inappropriate massage that includes

invasive methods that at the every least are fatiguing and at worst, cause

tissue damage.

Athletes experience body fatigue and brain fatigue. Massage can help

restore balance if properly applied. If the body is tried, do not task it more;

instead, help it rest. If the brain is tried, do not task it more; help it rest.

Often the best massage approach us the general nonspecific massage that

feels good, calms, and supports sleep. In physiologic terms, this produces parasympathetic dominance in the autonomic nervous system, which

support homeostasis and self-healing.

Experts specializing in the care of athletes are sports medicine physicians,

physical therapist, athlete trainers, exercise physiologists, and sports

psychologists. It is especially important for athletes to work under the

direction of these professionals to ensure proper sports form and training

protocols. The professional athlete is more likely to have access to these

professionals than recreational and amateur athletes, who may not have

the financial resources to hire training personnel and can incur injury

because of inappropriate training protocols.

Athletes depend on the effects of training and resulting neurologic

responses for precise functioning, as seen in the firing sequence of certain

muscles, This is especially important before the competition. Without

proper training and experience , it is easy for massage therapists to

disorganize neurologic responses if they do not understand the patterns

required for efficient functioning in the sport. The effect is temporary, and

unless the athlete is going to compete within 24 hours, it is usually not

significant. However, if the massage is given just before the competition,

the result could be devastating. Any type of massage before a competition

must be given carefully. If a massage professional plans to work with athlete

on a continuing basis, it is important that the practitioner really knows the

athlete and becomes part of the entire training experience.

For the athlete, his or her psychological state is crucial to performance;

often the competition is won in the mind. Massage therapists are not sports

psychologists. Remember that. However athletes look to us for support,

continuity, and feedback. Many athletes are very ritualistic about

pre-competition readiness. If massage has become part of that ritual and

the massage professional is inconsistent in main training appointment

schedules, an athlete's performance outcome can be adversely affected.


Two of the most important goals of sports massage are to assist the athlete

in achieving and maintaining peak performance and to support healing of

injuries. Any massage professional should be able to recognize common

sports injuries and should refer the athlete to the appropriate medical

professional. Once a diagnosis has been made and a rehabilitation plan

developed, the massage professional can support the athlete with general

massage application and appropriate methods to enhance the healing


Many factors contribute to mechanical injury and trauma is sports. Trauma

is defined as a physical injury or wound sustained in sports and produced

by an external or internal force.

Healing mechanisms manifest as an inflammatory response and resolution

of that response. Different tissues heal at different rates. For example, skin

heals quickly, whereas ligaments heal slowly. Stress can influence healing

by slowing the repair process. Sleep and proper nutrition are necessary for

proper healing.

Typically, post-trauma massage is focuses in restoration sleep, pain

management, and circulation enhancement. During the acute healing

phase, contraindications may exist for deep transverse friction, specific

myofascial release, and extensive trigger point work. Medication use

particularly analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs for pain, is common,

and their effects must be considered. Pain medication reduces pain

perception so that the athlete can continue to perform before healing is

complete. This interferes with successful healing. Anti-inflammatory drugs

may slow the healing process, particularly connective tissue healing.


Regular massage allows the body to function with less restriction and

accelerates recovery. This is a major focus of this textbook. Most athletes

require varying depths of pressure, from light to very deep, therefore,

effective body mechanics applied by the massage practitioner is essential.

Working with athletes can be very demanding. Their schedules may be

erratic, and their bodies change almost daily in response to training,

competition, or injury. Athletes can become dependent on massage to

maintain their performance level; therefore, commitment be the massage

professional is necessary.

Sports Injury
Leg Injury
Girls Doing Push Ups
Sports Facility 3
Women's Race
Fitness Group
Intense Training
Swimmers Jumping
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