If CrossFit, hot yoga, endurance running, swimming, surfing, or doing rigorous sports is your thing, injuries are inevitable. Recovery, on the other hand, is a must and sports massage can help. While our bodies demand movement and exertion, they also demand rest and balance.
Athleticism helps us befriend our body. Our sore muscles, cranky joints, rolled ankles, seized up calve muscles, give us important feedback about how to better care for our body. Overuse and injury give us the opportunity to listen to our body and heal it through restorative movement and healing touch.
Athletic trainers and therapeutic practitioners alike agree that massage therapy is an integral part of athletic training. According to the American Massage Therapy Association “Sports massage can be used to improve athletic performance, speed recovery, and can be utilized by all individuals who participate in any athletic and/or exercise program to help improve conditioning and maintain peak performance.”
What is sports massage?
The actual massage technique used in sports massage correlates to the chosen sport for the individual athlete. It targets the areas of the body that the athlete uses the most, with a focus on tendon and muscle junctions. The technique is designed to awaken antagonistic muscles, relax fatigued muscles, and increase overall blood flow to all of the major muscles in your body.
Sprains, strains, and sore muscles are commonly treated with sports massage, however many athletes use it to enhance their performance through increased flexibility, faster recovery, and a calm and focused mind. Trigger point, compression, and friction techniques aid in muscular blood flow and release. Add cupping to your sports massage to aid in increasing benefits and longevity of treatment.
You are an athlete and want to stay in the arena, right?! We highly encourage you to employ many preventative actions to allow your body to recover from the demands of your athletic passion.
Sports massage, cupping, detox wraps, Ashiatsu, deep tissue massage, acupuncture, and Thai massage are all great modalities for helping the body function at its peak. Massage will flush exercise induced toxins, increase blood flow, break up scar tissue, and help bring the muscles and bones into correct alignment. Speed up your recovery and prevent pesky injuries that keep you away from training and competition. Check out our robust massage menu here.
Sleep, hydration, nutrition.
Treat your body like you would a toddler! Seriously, good nutrition, rest, and regular fluids are not just for precious young children. Your body needs the benefits of quality care just as much. Drink water and eat hydrating fruits and vegetables. Get at least 7-8 hours or MORE of sleep every night! Eat whole foods, mostly fruits and vegetables. You will feel the difference not only while you sweat, but all day long!
Many athletes love the thrill of adrenaline, getting stronger by the workout, and logging impressive miles. Our bodies need restorative movement to perform at their peak. Period. Stretching helps greatly and need not be a static activity either. Yes, long held yoga poses have excellent benefits, so do other activities that add flow like swimming, dancing, Tai Chi, Qigong, gardening, or playing on the floor with kids. Non-repetitive and functional movement is excellent for recovery and overall health.
Self massage & trigger point release.
Give yourself the benefit of therapeutic massage at home. We do recommend frequent professional massages, however time, cost, and access can be barriers. Don’t let let this stop you. Foam rollers, trigger point balls, or even a tennis ball can greatly assist your recovery with simple targeted techniques.
At Home Self-Massage Tips:
Neck & Shoulders:
Lower your shoulders and slowly tuck your chin to your chest to stretch your neck. Place two or three fingertips on the back of your neck where your neck and shoulders meet. Press firmly and hold, releasing when the muscle feels more relaxed. Roll your shoulder forward and back slowly.
Place a trigger point or tennis ball on the floor and lie on it. You can even position it between your back and the wall for an upright massage (great for the office!) Move your body slowly up and down and side to side so that the ball massages any areas of muscle tightness. Avoid your spine to prevent injury. Press hard enough to feel a release and pleasant massage, but not too hard!
Tight quads are the runners badge! Loosen them up by rolling a trigger point ball or foam roller on top of your thighs. You also can use the palm of your hands to make small circles, working your way up the thigh from the knee. Or lean forward and run your elbow in a single stroke along the thigh from the knee toward the torso, making several different strokes from different angles.
Calf & Hamstrings:
Ease calf tightness rolling a foam roller along the length of your calf muscles. The heels of your palms work well, too. Use both hands to knead along either side of lower leg in small circles, working your way up the calf; flex or point foot as you do it. Drag the heels of your palms from the ankle toward knee along different sides of the calf.
Sitting down, roll a tennis ball or small trigger point ball under the entire surface of the foot including the heel, arch and toes. Roll it back and forth using mild pressure. You can sit with one foot across your other knee. Grasp each toe, rotate a few times clockwise and counterclockwise. Bend each toe forward and back, then pull out gently on each toe. Use both hands to grasp firmly on either side of the foot and wiggle hands back and forth, jiggling your foot between them.