Sports massage is a group of techniques that uniquely address athletes' needs. This includes: gentle warm up massage, post-event relaxation massage to address fatigue and soreness, mobility improvement, structural balancing, dynamic posture, and injury rehabilitation. If you use your body hard, it's even more important to get regular bodywork. Like a car, the more miles and the harder you drive, the more regular maintenance you should do to keep it from breaking down.
Often what I see is the "frog in the boiling pot" scenario where people feel fine, don't notice they are becoming imbalanced and restricted and then their performance starts to decline or they get injured fairly easily, often just doing normal activities. Engaging in sports and other regular physical activity is very important to your overall health and aging well. In addition to time constraints, injuries are a primary reason that people stop being active. So keep your body tuned up and when it breaks down, bring in into the shop as soon as possible before a little injury becomes a major immobility.
Here are a couple case studies. A swimmer that I worked with was having shoulder pain. On evaluation, his shoulder and arm range of motion was quite limited. This unknowingly reduced the efficiency of his stroke so that his whole body had to rotate, instead of his arm and shoulder. Further his leg muscles were bound up so kicking was more quickly exhausting. He noticed after treatment that not only did the shoulder pain go away but he was less tired doing the same swimming routine because his body felt looser, lighter and stronger as each muscle could fully flex and extend independently as well as each bone and joint. His shoulder pain disappeared. Another client was training in martial arts and was unable to efficient rotate his torso or throw a punch. He not only met his limit in performance, but was regressing a little despite increased training. His body was like a hard shell. Upon treatment, his flexibility improved dramatically and so did his performance, gaining access to new movements in training that he was previously unable to perform and eliminating a recurrent back injury likely due to spine and torso fascia immobility.
I not only have a certification in sports massage, but also use what I learned in orthopedic bodywork, neuromuscular therapy, facilitated stretching, neurokinetic therapy, and structural integration training. Most sports massage is actually lighter (post-event) and invigorating (pre-event) massage to get the blood flowing to muscles, increasing their efficacy, reducing inflammation and getting rid of metabolic waste. It's important in the few days before an important event not to make major structural changes unless you are in significant pain already. For the day or so after the event, it's also helpful to go lighter because muscle tissue may have already suffered minor damages and may be inflamed. Supportive massage rather than deep, structural massage is called for immediately before and after a big event.
Any other time, myofascial release and facilitated stretching can dramatically increase your efficiency and safety in performing your sport. I offer more advanced tune ups that can keep your body mobile and in alignment. Standard Swedish/deep tissue massage will not be as helpful at correcting imbalances or freeing immobile tissue - its better at short term muscle relaxation. I highly recommend monthly balancing sessions that are spaced in between any major events. Sessions during regular practice are fine at any time though.
Here are some of the sports I have experience with:
Iron man and other triathletics
Centered Bodywork 1427 NW 23rd Ave, Suite 1, Portland, OR 97210 6637 SE Milwaukie Ave, Suite 202, Portland, OR 97202 415-410-4622