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Today we are going to look at the final phase of a therapists role at Sporting Events, the Post-Event Massage and as the name implies it is usually performed within 2 hours after the athlete has finished performance. This can often be a highly emotional time, ranging from elation to extreme disappointment so sensitivity to the athletes emotional state should always be observed whilst carrying out their physical needs. The therapists job at this time is to help physically with maybe the added bonus of the athlete relaxing a little.
Before Post – Event Massage Begins
Before the Massage begins the athlete needs to cool down and re-hydrate before a brief consultation which serves as an assessment to ensures they are coherent and rational and not in need of medical care. The therapist needs to know if there are any sore spots or if they are experiencing discomfort so that the massage techniques can be adjusted to not cause more pain or damage to the athlete.
The aim of Post-Event massage
Post-Event massage is designed to aid the athlete in recovering from activity, to re-establish a range of motion and blood flow to tight muscles which helps to ease any acute pains and start the healing process of damaged tissues by aiding the removal of waste products from the tissue.
Post event massage can
- Help flush out the toxins and lactic acid built up during exercise
- Help return the muscles to a relaxed state
- Reduce the risk of post-exercise and next day soreness
- Reduce swelling and promote faster healing
- Help with cool down as an athlete is often too tired or excited to cool down properly
- Help to relax giving time to mentally or emotionally start to recover.
Most athletes look forward to seeing massage therapists at events as they enjoy a well-deserved post-event massage treatment which can help them feel better immediately following the competition. Along with the great psychological boost, it allows an athlete to recover quicker.
An on site post-event massage is administered for approximately 10 to 15 minutes with positive effects being experienced, oil or cream lubricant can be used at this point. Many techniques are used including compressive effleurage for calming the nervous system and tissue drainage, pettrisage for easing tension, compression for spreading muscle fibres and restoring blood flow, also broadening strokes to lengthen tight muscles. Sometimes an athlete will experience muscle cramps during the massage this is normal but if they are experiencing cramping in more than one muscle group it might be a sign of dehydration so medical attention would be sought to ensure it does not become a serious medical problem. The same apples to an athlete feeling light-headed or dizzy.
During the massage, therapist will also check for cuts; scrapes; bruises; blisters and mild strains or sprains, and if necessary have them treated appropriately by the medical team. It is also possible that in some cases the athlete will not feel the acute pain of a more serious injury immediately, this can happen later when the adrenalin wears off so the therapists will be looking out for any trauma of the muscles or joints. Following the massage, therapeutic stretching can be administered to relieve muscle tension, restore range of motion, target acute pain so blood circulation can deliver oxygen and nutrients that will contribute to repairing any damaged cells, decrease soreness or cramping and help a speedier return to training.
Follow up Massage
With professional athletes Sports massage is normally continued regularly after a competition to replenish the athletes musculoskeletal system which then begins to prepare them for any future events and help minimise injury.
Massage is also useful during training programmes to keep the body in good shape. It clears toxin build up, keeps the muscles and joints in optimum condition which helps prevent future injuries. Training can be as gruelling on the body as competition itself so it always pays to keep up some sort of regular treatment especially as most athletes have their weak spot that may need extra attention to keep the body balanced and strong. When we work our bodies to its limits then it deserves the attention only massage can give.
I hope you have enjoyed this little series on the Benefits of Massage at Sporting Events as you can see the therapist will be busy all day giving Pre-Inter-and Post Event massages to whoever needs them. Sometimes an athlete will only choose one and sometimes all 3 depending on how they feel on the day but you will always see the therapists busy in located areas or on the ground.
The stress, tensions, expectations and demands sometimes accompanying these events and competitions can lead to injuries, poor performance or illness so massage goes a way to helping ease tensions all round, even watching massage in the distance triggers a subconscious relaxation response. Whether you are a competitor, organiser or just a spectator, after months of planning we hope your event or competition goes smoothly and efficiently and we hope you gain much enjoyment and fun on the day or weekend too, Enjoy, Relax and let it flow.