This year I’ve had the pleasure of attending several sporting events as a sports massage therapist – the London Marathon in April, a 12-hour Charity Hockey Match in July, and the Harlow 10 Race and Hatfield Forest Half Marathon in September. At each of these events, I provided pre and post-event massage to the athletes to help their performance and recovery.
Having seen first-hand the difference that massage can make, and the positive feedback I received from those that received treatments, I wanted to share some thoughts about the benefits of this type of massage treatment, and why you should consider incorporating massage as part of your pre-and post- sporting event routine.
In simple terms, a pre-event massage can help any athlete or competitor achieve their optimal performance as well as help reduce the chances of sustaining an injury during the event.
A message received directly before a sporting event should be short (about 10 minutes), brisk and vigorous, but not too deep. The aim is to increase blood circulation to achieve greater flexibility and a bigger range of motions through muscles and joints. This in turn helps to decrease the chance of sustaining an injury during the event, and can also reduce nerves and anxiety – helping the athlete achieve optimal performance.
A brisk and vigorous pre-event massage can also reduce the chances of the athlete becoming too relaxed – which is similarly detrimental to achieving optimal performance.
Many of the same massage techniques are used post-event as pre-event, but in different ways as the needs of the athlete change to ‘recovery’.
A post-event massage should be a slower treatment, with longer and deeper strokes, to relax the athlete both physically and mentally. It also allows the massage therapist the opportunity to focus on any muscle groups that may have been overworked during the event.
A post-event massage can also help reduce recovery time as it flushes out waste and lactic acid that have built up in the muscles during the event. It also helps to move oxygen around the body to increase blood circulation to the athlete’s muscles, helping restore the usual range of motion to muscles and joints, and relieving any cramps and spasms.
So the next time you are taking part in a sporting event I would recommend giving some thought to setting aside some time for a pre and/or post-event massage to help boost your performance and post-event recovery!
Maybe I will see you at an event next year!