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Healing Melody Therapeutic Massage

Sports Massage Therapy

Colleen Melody-Robinson LMT Simsbury, CT

Sports Massage was originally developed to help athletes pre and post any kind of sporting event such as a race or a triathlon. It emphasizes prevention and healing of injuries to the muscles and tendons. But you don’t have to be and athlete to benefit from sports massage, it’s also good for people with injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion.

Sports massage is a type of Swedish massage which is used to increase circulation of blood and lymph fluids. Some sports massage methods also use trigger point therapy to break down adhesions, release trigger points (knots) and increase range of motion.

There are different Sports massages for different needs, but basically there are four types:

  • Pre-event sports massage: a short, stimulating massage usually done 15 – 45 minutes before the event. It is applied to the parts of the body that will be involved in the activity.
  • Post-event sports massage: given within an hour or two of the event, to normalize the tissues.
  • Restorative sports massage: given during training to allow the athlete to train harder and with less potential for injury.
  • Rehabilitative sports massage: aimed at alleviating pain from injuries and returning the body to health.


Pre and Post Event

The pre and post event massages are usually short and superficial, just aimed at either warming up the muscles the person will be using for the event or helping the person cool down and recover after an event. No deep techniques should be used in either case, because this might cause injuries, imbalances or cramping. The techniques generally used are rocking, easy compressions and light effleurage. The sessions are generally short as well, just 10-15 minutes. Faster movements are used pre event and slower movements post event.

Rehabilitative and Restorative

Restorative and Rehabilitative are the kind of massage you might see a physical or massage therapist doing at the gym or in their office. Rehabilitative sports massage is a good choice if you have a specific problem, like a pulled hamstring or bad knees. In a spa or clinic the massage therapist generally focuses in on the problem area rather than giving you a full-body massage. These sessions can be shorter as well. 30 minutes is a good amount of time to work on a particular area. You can also combine some sports moves into a full body session.

I will often utilize cupping therapy in most rehabilitation or therapeutic sessions as well. Using the cups is a great way to introduce “negative” pressure that pulls up rather than pushing into the tight or injured areas. The benefits of this kind of therapy is increased blood flow and oxygen to the tissues which activates the body’s healing response. Cupping is especially beneficial on old injuries with built up scar tissue and adhesions, but it also works great on areas of normal built up tension or trigger points. It can feel a little strange at first, but most clients find it very relaxing and less painful than traditional deep tissue techniques. 

I usually use silicone cups which I keep moving over the area so you won’t get the traditional cup marks or “kisses” like you would with the stationary cups that are placed on the area for up to 5 minutes. I do have the stationary cups as well for the more stubborn issues or client’s that need more focused work. You might look like an octopus attacked you for a couple of days afterwards, but you’ll feel so much better.