Sports and Massage Therapy go hand in hand. Long before the popularity of relaxation massage, athletes such as runners and football players incorporated sports massage as part of their training regimens. Most athletes and weekend warriors agree sports massage feels great after a race or workout, but scientists have been challenged to show why.

Debunking the myths… Massage does not remove toxins from your muscles nor does it remove lactic acid. There is no physiological system in the body for this to happen using sports massage techniques.  Today, this folklore stills pervades the industry.  Ask five massage therapists ” What is Sports Massage?” and you will likely get five different answers. At our office, we consider sports massage to fall into a few different areas. Pre- and Post-Event massage and well as possibly during an event or game is one category. Another area would be recovery sports massage. Perhaps a day or two after an event, a massage session can aid in your recovery. Rehabilitative sports massage is helping an athlete “recover” after an injury. So what does sports massage do for athletic recovery? Check out this article from Runner’s World magazine discussing  The Pros and Cons of Massage for Runners .

Let’s talk techniques… Are there specific sports massage techniques? Again the answer will vary with who you ask, but here’s what we think. Oftentimes, you will see Sports Massage and Deep Tissue Massage listed together on a brochure as if they are interchangeable. We consider sports massage not so much about specific techniques as it is knowing different sports and the kinesiology behind those sports. What muscles are used by a tennis player versus a swimmer versus a runner? What are the movements that the athlete does during the sport? Consider the different muscles a cyclist uses to propel their bike up a hill compared to a swimmer using the butterfly stroke.  Sports Massage is Massage Therapy for Athletes.  Deep tissue techniques could be used during a rehabilitative session, but pre- or post-event, a therapist will be using compression, jostling, stretching and other techniques to warm the tissue and loosen up the muscles so the athlete conserves their own energy for the competition.

Volunteering all weekend for post-event Sports Massage on the Walkers.

Volunteering all weekend for post-event Sports Massage on the Walkers at the NYC Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

With this beautiful summer weather that we’ve been having, we are seeing tons of sports injuries in our office. Runners can get stress fractures to the feet which will affect the entire body during injury recovery. If you are wearing a boot or using crutches, expect some compensation in other areas of your body. Having a customized therapeutic recovery sports massage can help work out those imbalances in your hips, low back and upper body. Patti Sklar and Darcy Doggett recently completed an another advanced training in releasing the psoas muscle– a key muscle for many sports including golf. Check out our previously post on the illiopsoas muscle here

Running with an injury and tight muscles can change your stride and eventually throw off your whole body – sidelining your running. Our therapists have extensive experience working with professional athletes, weekend warriors, committed CrossFit athletes, and those just trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. Committing to a regular sports massage routine as part of your training program can help keep you on track.

 Training for the New York Marathon? Ask about our discounted packages to keep you on the road.