On your mark, get ready, get set, GO

By Laura Gordon

Sports massage has been an ongoing and developing modality long before the Greeks initiated the Olympics. Preparing the athlete for an event and maintenance afterwards is the bread and butter of the spot massage therapist.

The benefits of sports massage include: increasing range of motion, flexibility and performance, stimulating and balancing muscles and muscle groups therefore reducing possible injury in training and competition, increasing blood flow which takes oxygen to muscles and nutrients to soft tissues, helping the elimination of metabolic wastes, and shortening recovery time.

If sports massage is your passion, having a solid foundation of all the muscles, their action, insertion and origin is a must. Along with that, the following suggestions will benefit your sports massage business:
• Know the players and stats of the sport in which you want to focus your massage work
• Show interest while talking with the athlete about their sport and their performance. You’ll find it’s a topic they love to share.
• Know the types of injuries athletes of that sport will most often have
• Have a good foundation in Muscle Energy Techniques such as Proprioceptor Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
• Watch for any tensing up and or facial expression while working on the athlete
• Maintain communication with the athlete while working on him or her to adjust and gage your work
• Follow the P.R.I.C.E. rule
These suggestions and more can be found at www.massagenerd.com
Just as pre event massage prepares the athlete and post event massage relaxes the athlete, both important to your work, maintenance will be a vital.

If you are the sports massage therapist for a team, you will be working under the direction of an athletic coach so it will be important for you to maintain an open and clear line of communication with that person. The shared goals you both will have will include recovery after an event, maintenance and preparation for a coming event. You will address tension patterns and areas of pain and soreness on each athlete in your work so keeping thorough S.O.A.P. notes will be valuable to you and the coach.
Whether working with an athletic coach or an individual athlete you will want to employ swedish massage, deep tissue, PNF, trigger point as well as other modalities that work on the muscular and structural systems of the body. You will also want to make sure each athlete is aware of potential problem areas and work with them to safe guard those areas with specific treatments and homework. Again S.O.A.P. notes will be in invaluable resource for you as you work on each athlete.

Challenge:  For your assignment this week write a 30 second speech on how you would get an athlete to let you massage them.

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