Sports massage is part of the training plan of any elite athlete, daily training loads require certain care that promotes well-being and helps prevent injuries and as they say: rest is part of training. Yes, massage should not be seen as a luxury, should not be seen as elitist and only useful for professionals. Massage is an investment. Only the needs are different depending on the training load level visit new phase blends.
If you want to book a massage and feel the benefits in your own body and performance, you must pay attention to some aspects and know that what is good for certain athletes is not good for others.
1. Different types of Massage
It is important to know that there are different types of massage. When looking for a massage, you are almost presented with a menu with dozens of possibilities. But the effects are also different. A hot stone massage or vichi shower does not provide the desired effects of a sports massage.
A sports massage is not an exotic or spa massage. It is a massage that should have a specific objective of muscle recovery and relaxation, to improve muscle and fascial flexibility, reduce pain and improve the quality of movement.
2. Structure of sports massage
A sports massage is done with some intensity but always respecting the pain individually. Massage doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, be painful, the ‘everything that hurts heals’ philosophy is counterproductive. In fact, there is a big difference between pain and discomfort and that information is given, and should be heard, by your body. You shouldn’t feel that your body fights against the massage and if you feel that it’s an ordeal, it’s better that the massage ends right there.
Massage only on the legs is reductive. When running, we create tensions in various areas of the body, namely arms, shoulders and lower back, in addition to the toxins produced not just staying in the legs. One of the most important areas is foot massage. The feet are our contact with the ground, they receive the total load of the body and are in contact with our brain throughout the race, informing us about the ground we step on and asking for constant adaptations to the whole body. Balanced feet will help prevent numerous injuries (not just the feet)!
3. Massage Calendar
You can do a massage to recover the body after physical exertion or before it, but you need to know when to plan it. If you are going to have a competition and you are not used to massage you should not do that first massage before the competition (just as you should not debut new shoes on the day of the race), if you do it regularly the last massage should be 48 hours before the race Of course, professional athletes with almost daily massage routines can use it anytime.
After a competition there is also an ideal time window that allows you to recover more efficiently, it is estimated to be 36 to 48 hours. But be careful, if you are very sore it is preferable to wait or choose a more draining massage with less pressure so as not to increase the inflammatory muscle response.
4. Choose the masseuse
In Portugal there are several professionals performing sports massage, the truth is that this is not regulated and we have ‘professionals’ with 20h courses without previous training in the health area doing sports massages.
A practical advice is to look for someone with experience in the area, recommended by a friend or training colleague, who usually works with sportsmen and who has a basic training related to health, he will be able to give you the massage and will have the ability to be alert for abnormal physical situations by referring you to a more qualified professional or being a physiotherapist, with experience in sports traumatology, can help you to prevent or recover from an injury, evaluating and planning an appropriate treatment.
5. Care before and after massage
Food: save the feast for after the massage, you should wait at least 2h if you have had a stronger meal. Our body channels the blood to the most ‘needed’ area, when you massage the blood will tend to flow to the massaged area, diverting blood from the stomach which will delay digestion and can cause discomfort.
After the massage, if you want to be meticulous, bet on foods rich in water and antioxidants. These will boost your recovery.
Hydration: Hydration is essential at any stage of an athlete’s day, but after the massage you should reinforce your fluid intake. Massage promotes the removal of toxins and lactic acid, but in isolation it is not efficient. By being well hydrated your body will get rid of more