What Are the Benefits of Pre-Event Massage?
A pre-event massage can be performed anytime from two days until immediately before a sporting event. Right before the event is the most common time for this type of massage. Usually, these massages are shorter in length, about 10 or 15 minutes, and are performed on a massage table or mat. If the athlete is going to do a warm-up and have a massage, the massage should be performed first, as massage can be relaxing and could counteract the warm-up if performed later. Most massage therapists will forgo massage oil for pre-event massage, as these can be slippery and may make the athlete uncomfortable or interfere with performance.
Increased Blood Supply
According to Massagetoday.com, having a pre–event massage increases the blood supply to the muscles. This is important for the muscles being able to perform in top shape during an event. The therapist will accomplish this by using compression or brisk friction moves on the athlete, drawing blood flow to the desired areas for optimum performance.
Having a massage before an athletic event can assist the performer with mobility of joints, reports JSSM.org. Looser, more flexible joints can be an important advantage, especially in activities where being limber is important. It should be noted, however, that this type of massage should be used with caution in sports where speed is the ultimate goal, as this can actually slow an athlete down a bit if the massage is performed immediately before the event.
Improved Mental Outlook
Massage feels good and is an enjoyable way to unwind before an event. Although an athlete would not want to become too relaxed before an event, massage can help with pre-event jitters and improve mental outlook and enthusiasm for the event or performance. Massage can be very helpful mentally for athletes and non-athletes alike.
If desired, having a pre-event massage performed can take the place of a warm-up or act as a supplement to one, as massage can accomplish many of the same goals as a warm up would. Pre-event massage is useful for stretching the tissues in preparation for an athletic event, states Massage4athletes.com.
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Kathy Gleason is a freelance writer living in rural northern New Jersey who has been writing professionally since 2010. She is a graduate of The Institute for Therapeutic Massage in Pompton Lakes, N.J. Before leaving her massage therapy career to start a family, Gleason specialized in Swedish style, pregnancy and sports massage.