Brief Introduction to Sports Massage

Updated: Oct 4, 2019


Prevent Injury, Restore Mobility, Improve Recovery and Flexibility, Reduce Soreness

With so many options to choose from, how do you know which Sports Massage is right for you? Learn the difference between the various forms of Sports Massage.


Sports Massage is a seemingly common item on many company brochures. Often when receiving a Sports Massage, the therapist may ask which activities you participate in, your level of competition (professional, competitive, weekend warrior, etc), your event schedule, and whether you have any specific goals for your training. All of these questions will help the therapist create a treatment plan for you to get the most out of your time together.

Sports Massage is broken down depending on when it is performed; each form of Sports Massage has different goals.

  • Pre-Event: Immediately before an event or in the middle of an event i.e swim or track meets. The focus is to achieve optimal performance by stimulating muscle groups used in the event, improve circulation, and calm nervous tension but not by making great changes in muscle. This type of massage is ineffective if performed too soon, too slow, or by causing great muscle change.


  • Post-Event: Effective time within 36 hours after the event. The focus is on minimizing swelling, tension, soreness, cramping, and encouraging relaxation. Depending on the intensity of the performance, different techniques may be used to maximize relaxation and comfort.


  • “Maintenance” Massage: any massage performed a reasonable amount of time between events to work with an athletes specific goals and needs including stress reduction, decrease muscular tension, increase flexibility, and to maintain optimum health.

Different techniques used in Sports Massage may include:

  • Skills to relieve cramps - compression, approximation, reciprocal inhibition

  • Various types of stretching, depending on when the athlete is competing

  • Rocking and Shaking (compression) motions

  • Emollients - Tiger Balm, Cannabis Lotions, standard creams or lotions, etc.

  • Hot / Cold Compresses

  • Props - foam rollers, straps, pressure bars, etc.

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