It doesn’t matter whether you’re gearing up for a big race, recovering from a heavy spin class, or just looking to treat yourself, a sports massage might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Here’s the thing, there are some things you need to know about sports massage before you seek one out. Before I break down the five things you need to know, I want to share one that is so important it doesn’t count towards those five – there is a massive difference between a sports massage and a spa treatment. You’re not going for rest and relaxation. You will have to stretch, move, and interact with the massage therapist throughout your sports massage session.

What You Need To Know

Male therapist giving leg massage to athlete patient in clinic

1. Don’t Wait

If you’re in pain, then you should seek out help from a doctor before you consider a sports massage. It’s always best to ensure there isn’t an injury because the recovery may be different. For example, sustained pressure might help restore motion and eliminate the pain of an injury where a sports massage would exacerbate it.

Additionally, you shouldn’t wait until the pain is unbearable before seeking help. Generally, if you feel tight, then a sports massage may help. Though, if you’re planning one ahead of a big activity or race, you should do so at least three days before you are set to perform. Never get a sports massage right before a big outing, which is the next point.

2. Time Your Sports Massage Just Right

A big massage before a race can cause serious problems, so if you want a massage pre-event, then it should be three days before it. If you’d like a sports massage as part of your recovery, you’d be best to wait a day or two. The ideal method is to enjoy a sports massage weekly in the run-up to an event to help manage nerves and relax muscles, then one three days before the big day.

3. Follow Follow

If you want to find the best sports massage possible, then pay attention to where the athletes go. IF you find a therapist who has worked with professionals or is/was a professional, then you’re a step ahead of the game. These therapists know how to push for maximum benefit without causing soreness.

Of course, you should always ensure the business has licensed massage therapists trained specifically in sports massage methodologies.

4. The Types of Massage

There is more than one type of sports massage and if you want to get the most of yours, you should know what you need.

  • A pre-event sports massage will help you relax and loosen up your muscles to improve performance.
  • A post-event sports massage will speed up the recovery process by relaxing your muscles.
  • A restorative sports massage will help prevent injury if you are prone to pushing yourself hard during training.
  • A rehabilitative sports massage is designed specifically to treat injuries, maintain the body, and relieve pain.

It’s Time For Your Massage

5. On the Day

It’s incredibly important that you hydrate in advance of your sports massage. Likewise, you should avoid heavy meals right before your sports massage.

Depending upon the type of sports massage, you may be clothed or unclothed under a sheet and blanket, though for most sports massage men will likely wear bicycle-type shorts, while women may wear yoga pants and sports bras. If you are working with a therapist who wants you to be on the massage table under the sheet and blanket, they only the body part that is being treated will be undraped to be treated, then redraped before the therapist moves on the other parts of the body. Since most “sports massage” is more about the particular areas of the body being used for your sport, more often than not, it involves more “spot treatments” for shorter durations than your typical “one hour relaxation” massage.

It is normal to experience some soreness following a sports massage, but it generally subsides within 48 hours. It’s always wise to let your massage therapist know if you tend to bruise easily. They will adjust their pressure to avoid, or at least limit, this side effect.

If you want to find out more about sports massage, or to book a massage, get in touch with our team today.

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