By Lynn Davis
Resident Massage Therapist at SoCal Athletics
Massage Therapy; A recipe for success
Having been a massage therapist for over 10 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many different types of athletes and I have found that the combination of these five types of massage modalities have proven to be the best results in my practice.
A sports massage often involves a fast-paced massage, stretching and other approaches, depending upon the sport in which you participate. It can be tailored to be used as a pre-workout stretch and opportunity to warm up the muscles or used a post work-workout massage designed to reduce muscle soreness and increase flexibility.
Active release technique, also known as A.R.T. is a massage technique that combines movement with specific deep pressure to help relieve muscle adhesions and reduce scar tissue buildup. Active release is best used when treating a specific injury, especially one where the formation of scar tissue impacts the ability for the body to heal itself.
Swedish massage utilizes long, flowing strokes. The lighter, relaxing strokes helps to ease muscle tension, relieves stress and increase blood flow. Swedish massage is best used in the days before big competitions or as a recovery tool after hard workouts.
Trigger point therapy targets a knot in the muscle fiber that may cause pain to be referred to other, more distant parts of the body. Therapist will apply pressure to a knot for anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds, until a change in the tissue is felt.
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue is often confused with deep pressure (like when you say, “go harder”) Deep tissue targets both the superficial and deep layers of muscles and fascia. Deep tissue typically focus in on a few specific problem areas. Therapist uses slow deliberate movement from origin to insertion point of the muscle.
When should you get a massage and how often
Massage here and there is nice, but won’t give you the same benefits as a regular massage sessions. Like exercise itself, your benefits are cumulative, meaning the more regularly you receive a massage, the more you’ll reap the benefits. That being said, know that the benefits are often short-lived and part of the reason why it is a cumulative action. If you’re training at a high level, I suggest once a week if possible or every other week. Think of it as a preventative maintenance, don’t wait until there’s an injury, book your bodywork sessions now.