Although sports massage might seem like a modern benefit for high-priced athletes it’s actually a therapy that’s been practiced for centuries and, in fact, the ancient Spartans used massage techniques to optimize the effectiveness of their warriors over 2500 years ago. In effect, some of the massage techniques used back then are still used to this day as many of the basic movements are common across all styles of massage.
One type of massage called Effleurage is usually applied with a flat palm and utilizes the fingers and palm to make a long gliding stroke of medium pressure. This is a common technique used on sports figures as well as average people. Using this technique, the masseur works the muscles by gliding firmly over them in one direction and then using a different path in the other direction. The hands follow the natural contours of the part of the body that is being worked on.
The style of massage uses increasing pressure to relax tense muscles and encourage blood flow. The skin and muscles are warmed by the massage itself and when the blood flow opens up, the muscles can get more oxygen and nutrients as well as be able to get rid of toxins more easily. This creates an overall healthful effect for the athlete.
Petrissage is the type of massage you want if you have a knot or muscle pain in one particular area and is effective as a sports massage therapy. This technique uses a more focused kneading action of the fingertips and thumb and works the deeper muscle tissue. It’s better for the larger muscle groups like the thigh and the back but can work on smaller groups such as the neck and shoulders as well. As the knotted muscles are worked blood flow to the muscle is restored as well as the flow of lymphatic fluid. The masseur uses the thumb and forefinger is to find trigger points and knotted muscles that they can work on. Repeated rubbing over that spot will help the muscle release the knot and can be quite satisfying.
These massage techniques need to be-changed according to the person they are being performed on. Not only are the individuals all different from one another, but the sports themselves use the muscles differently and so different injuries and stresses can happen. Some techniques that can be used with good results on one athlete may not have good results on the next.
As we all know, most athletes can push themselves too hard and many of them can benefit from a good sports massage which will help relax them and heal the muscles. In addition, some of the techniques like shiatsu massage can work on the joints and tendons that may be damaged by excessive sports.