A sports massage therapist is an educated person who helps a athlete achieve optimal performance and treats sport-related injuries. Sports massage therapists have completed special schooling and education to be certified as a massage therapist. While sports massages are designed for athletes, anyone with a harm, chronic pain or range of motion can benefit from this form of massage.
A sports massage therapist uses a certain type of massage to help an athlete's body reach top performance, to relieve swelling to reduce muscle tension and promote flexibility. Through massage, the therapist helps relieve tension and stress that has been built up in the athlete's soft tissues. This stress and tension is usually due to physical activity, overuse or over effort. In addition to relieving tension and stress, sports massage can prevent injury, as it helps keep your muscles flexible, according to information from Associated Body and Massage Professionals.
Athletes often use a sports massage therapist before, during or after the competition. In addition, many athletes use sports massage as part of their daily exercise programs. Using sports massage as maintenance technology has been shown to promote athletic stamina, performance and reduce recovery times, according to Associated Body and Massage Professionals.
A sports massage therapist often uses a mixture of compression, deep Swedish massage, cross-fiber massage, trigger point massage and lymph massage. By applying these techniques, therapists can restore the function of the muscles and joints. Every sport requires a special form of this massage. Sports massagers are trained to address specific issues related to individual sports, such as a tennis player's habits. A pre-event massage usually occurs 15 to 45 minutes before the event, and it helps to warm up the muscles in the body. A post-event sports massage treatment is given within one to two hours of the competition, and it helps relieve stress and to reduce pain and soreness. A sports massage maintenance program is regularly provided during training to help an athlete train longer and harder. Finally, if athletes get hurt, they can have several sports massage to help their body recover.
In addition to sport-related benefits, CNN Health reports that this form of massage can help reduce blood pressure, heart rate and tension; increase blood circulation; and relieve pain.
To become a certified sports massage therapist, people go through a long program, usually between seven to 12 months long, to get training in a variety of massage techniques, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, massage applications and the effects and benefits of massage. Being a certified sports massage therapist, you must pass the national certification exam in therapeutic massage and bodywork. Most states require sports massage therapists to have completed this exam to practice.