Recovery Massage & Maintenance Massage: Two Applications of Sports Massage

Sports Massage techniques consisting of flat, broad-hand compressions, jostling, and kneading are generally done without oil with the athlete draped (under sheets) or in loose clothing/ athletic attire. Deep gliding strokes with oil can also be used, with the overall purpose being to clean and prime the muscles by increasing circulation. The difference between Recovery Massage and Maintenance massage is in their application. Recovery Massage facilitates recovery from competition or a strenuous training session and is applied soon after the activity. Maintenance Massage is received on a regular basis by athletes as part of their training regimen. Its purpose is to help athletes maintain optimal physical condition during training.

Recovery Massage is administered for the uninjured athlete soon after the activity. It should last no more than 30 minutes and is essentially a post-event Sports Massage. This somewhat immediate, shorter duration application can reduce the athlete’s recovery time from an event by half and is designed to minimize the physiological effects of the activity. Several hours after or the next day, the Recovery Massage could last as much as one hour, although post-exercise soreness may have already developed. Jostling coaxes the nervous system to let muscles relax, compressions and deep gliding strokes increase circulation, promoting better cell nutrition and removal of waste products.

Maintenance massage consists of general recovery massage on the entire body with specific attention to problem areas, concentrating on tight and sore muscles, stiff joints and former injury sites. Sports massage techniques are effective in addressing tension and improving muscle flexibility, thereby restoring normal Range of Motion. Although the jury is still out as to the cause of post- exercise soreness and pain, broad-hand compressions of Sports Massage can successfully alleviate this condition: pressure used is administered lightly at first, increasing proportionally as the pain diminishes, until all muscle discomfort is eliminated.

By increasing circulation of blood and lymph, Recovery and Maintenance Massage carry away waste products or metabolites, promote cell nutrition, reduce edema and expedite healing of damaged tissues. They calm the nervous system and restore Range of Motion. Afterwards, athletes should feel relaxed and refreshed.

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