Massage for Athletes

Wednesday November 26, 2014

I am an athlete in training; when is the best time for my massage?

Because athletes train specifically for their sport, they are prone to muscular tension and strain from repetitive overuse. The “weekend warrior”, typically exercises up to three times a week while the competitive athlete usually works out more than three days a week. Whichever you are, massage can be a valuable ally during the days and months prior to and following an athletic event. There are many different applications of massage for athletes which include event massage (pre and post), restorative massage, treatment massage and maintenance massage.

Event massage is administered on the day of the event to help the athlete prepare for and recover from the activity.  Pre-event massage is performed before the client participates in an athletic event.  It is most beneficial when performed about 2 hours before the actual event; however, because the effects of pre-event massage can last for a day or two, some athletes may still benefit from massage up to 2 days before the event.  The focus of the pre-event massage is to enhance the athlete’s warm-up routine and to increase circulation to the primary large muscles that will be used in the event. Post event massage is most optimally performed within 2 hours of the athletic performance and focuses on circulatory enhancement to aid in recovery from the activity as well as to decrease muscle tension and minimize delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

Restorative massage, also called curative or post recovery massage, is more therapeutic and takes place 6 to 72 hours after the athletic performance.  Restorative massage focuses on circulatory enhancement, restoring the resting length to muscles involved in the athletic performance and to stretch the fascia that surrounds those muscles.

Treatment massage is intended to facilitate the healing process when an injury has already occurred or when chronic strain has diminished the athlete’s performance.

And finally, the most essential, maintenance massage is performed in between sporting events to maintain flexibility and ensure that muscles are relaxed and lengthened to prevent injuries from occurring during training.

As you can surmise, massage is beneficial no matter where you are in your  training program. For more information and to make an appointment, please see front desk staff or speak with a massage therapist.

Written by: Michelle Taylor, LMBT #6648