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A good massage can help reduce anxiety levels and can leave you feeling invigorated and de-stressed. Sports massage can do all this, and in addition can be used to treat an injury. Sports massage can also be used as part of an overall program in order to help your performance as well as preventing further injury.

When treating an athlete, sports massage is the specific application of massage techniques, hydrotherapy protocols, range of motion/flexibility protocol and strength-training principles utilized in order to achieve a specific goal.

Three Key Principles of Sports Massage

There are three specific principles that are vital to understanding what type of sports massage to apply to an athlete at any given time. These are "when, what and why" of sports massage: Timing, Technique and Intent.


Timing refers to whether the massage is given pre-event or post-event; during recovery; during a maintenance period; or when an injury is sustained requires rehabilitation.


Technique refers to what application you utilise, and can include several different techniques:   
  • friction;
  • vibration;
  • shaking;
  • compression;
  • broadening strokes;
  • direct pressure;
  • cross-fibre friction;
  • range of motion; and
  • stretching.


Intent refers to the reasons for the treatment.
Every sports massage therapist should ask themselves the following questions before beginning a session:
  • What is the intent of the massage I am about to provide?
  • What physiologic changes in the tissue am I trying to create?
  • What massage techniques are most efficient at creating such changes?
Following-up with these self-questions after the session is important:
  • Did I achieve the desired physiological change in the tissue?
  • Is the athlete satisfied with the treatment?
Mastering the application of sports massage takes years of education and experience. No one modality, technique or approach will work the same for each athlete. It is the love of what you do, and the desire to keep learning and improving that will enable you to perfect your sports massage technique.

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  Massage - Sports