Pre Event Massage
A pre event massage is usually not more than 10 or 15 minutes in duration and performed on the day of the event. Sports psychology is important at this time, whilst providing the massage, the therapist should be talking to the athlete in an encouraging and positive way. Telling athletes that their muscles feel good, and that they seem well prepared for competition can be as encouraging as the massage. If athletes seem nervous, the therapist can encourage them to talk to help dissipate the nervousness but should try to discourage them from talking negatively about themselves or the competition. Understanding the athletes is important. Athletes prepare for their events in different ways. Some like to sit quietly to prepare for competition; others have a lot of nervous energy and are talkative and active right before competing. The therapist should observe what each athlete’s needs are and not interfere in the process of getting ready.
A pre event massage should include these techniques:
- Friction to create heat to warm up the superficial tissue
- Compression to increase blood flow to the muscles
- Tapotement to stimulate the muscles
- Range of motion of the joints to increase or decrease stiffness
- Gentle stretching to prepare muscles for the warm-up
The goal is always to have the athlete leave the table feeling prepared for athletic competition. Pre event massage is for stimulation and inspiration for the athlete.
Post Event Massage
Post event massage is administered immediately after the event or competition. Post-event massage is done to decrease muscle soreness and/or cramping and to facilitate a faster return to training after an athletic event.
A post-event massage is designed to aid the athlete in recovering from the activity; flush out the lactic acid buildup, reduce post-exercise soreness; and re-establish range of motion and blood flow to tight muscles. It also can give the athlete a big psychological lift. Before administering the massage, allow the athlete to cool down and re-hydrate. Conduct a brief interview to ensure that he or the is coherent and rational. I like to ask if the athlete is really sore. I also ask the athlete to tell me if he or she experiences any discomfort during the massage, so I can adjust my technique; post-event massage should never be too painful to the athlete.An on site post-event massage is administered for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. A typical post-event leg routine might consist of compressive effleurage for calming the nervous system and pushing fluid; pettrisage for easing tension in the muscle; compression for spreading muscle fibres and restoring blood flow; broadening strokes to lengthen tight muscles; and compressive effleurage as a finishing stroke to soothe. Following the massage, therapeutic stretching can be administered to relieve muscle tension and restore range of motion.