Learn Sports Massage to Enhance Your Massage Therapy Career
Students pursuing a massage therapy career: do you know about sports massage? If not, you’ve come to the right place!
Sports massage isn’t just for professional athletes, contrary to common belief. When the practice was first introduced, yes, sports massage was intended to prepare athletes’ bodies for their highest possible performance or relieve them of their pain and physical stress, by targeting the muscles and tendons that are regularly pushed and/or overworked in sports and other activities.
That initial function still remains, but sports massage isn’t only reserved for highly paid football and baseball players. Nowadays, even the recreational jogger or twice-a-week racquetball player can take advantage of the techniques utilized by massage therapists who specialize in sports injuries.
What separates sports-related massages from other modalities are the specific methods used for certain types of treatment. Not every athlete will suffer from the same injuries, and because some sports require more aggressive movements than others, they require their own massage procedures.
Essentially, sports massage is a version of Swedish Massage that must be tailored to each individual client – mostly incorporating therapeutic techniques and extensive stretching.
Four types of sports massage are commonly recognized. They are:
- Pre-event sports massage: muscle and tendon stimulation provided immediately before physical activity
- Post-event sports massage: treatment given right after the physical activity to normalize tension and blood flow
- Restorative sports massage: treatment given throughout training that allows for the athlete’s continued physical exertion performed at high intensity
- Rehabilitative sports massage: treatment provided following a sports injury, with the goal of returning the body to proper health.
As an aspiring massage therapist, you should consider learning the proper sports massage therapy techniques. Even it isn’t your true massage “calling,” holding the knowledge, skills and equipment needed to practice sports massage will make you more versatile (and more employable) in your pursuit of a massage therapy career.