This is a question I frequently get in clinic and seems to have been misinterpreted by therapists as long as I have been in practice.
Sport massage is a specific form of treatment provided to athletes pre event, intra event and post event. It is intended to prepare the body for maximum output, prevent injuries and aid in the body's recovery afterwards. Here's what it looks like:
Pre-Event: Short duration (10 -12 mins), high tempo, stimulating techniques such as shaking, slapping, tapping, pounding and chopping. The purpose of this is to stimulate the CNS (central nervous system), increase circulation and decrease tension without the relaxing side effects.
Intra-Event: May be used in between events and is similar to the pre-event techniques however may include more focused work such as Trigger Point Release, Active Release Techniques or PNF (Contract/Relax) stretching.
Post-Event: Longer in duration (20 - 30 mins.) Relaxing techniques are used with some deep tissue and trigger point therapy. Static stretches (holding for min. of 30 sec.) can also be incorporated.
Maintenance Therapy: This is more what you see in a clinical setting and is often done in between competitions or shows. Therapists use a combination of modalities to target specific problem areas in hopes of preventing injury, treating existing injuries and restoring range of motion.
Check out the video below to see a quick demonstration of a pre-event massage I performed at the 2017 Summer Swimming Nationals in Quebec.
Dr. William Shannon, DC has spent over 25 years in practice. After seeing thousands of cases over the years, there isn't much he hasn't seen. Throughout his practice he has gained extensive knowledge and experience working with cases involving personal injury (MVA), chronic pain conditions, headaches and migraines, supplement deficiencies and injury relating to sports and work.