Massage in Research

What is Sports Massage?

Sports Massage is a type massage therapy that is very similar to a deep tissue massage with specific work on problem areas for athletes and weekend warriors.  There are many "modalities" or "types" of massage therapy theses days, and Sports Massage is also a term to help categorize who a massage therapist works on and which massage therapist a new client will search for. 


The benefits of massage are still present in all massage modalities, just different "benefits" are noticed after certain massage styles.  When seeking a Sports Massage, for example, you would be looking for pain relief and help getting back to participating fully in your sport.  


What is the difference between a regular "massage" and a "sports massage"?

The difference is the focus or intension of each massage "style" or "modality". 


A "Relaxation Massage" for example, focuses on relaxing your entire body without any specific attention to painful areas.  The intension or focus of a "Relaxation Massage" is on relaxation, stress relief and/or anxiety reduction.  Here at Athletic Touch Therapeutic Massage we consider a "Relaxation Massage" a style that is non-specific, lighter pressure, and focused on relaxing the somatic nervous system.


A Sports Massage, on the other hand, focuses on athletic performance, and getting the athlete back to their best performance possible.  I do this by listening to the client's complaints, then on watching them move and finally by how the muscles feel when I palpate them.  


Some athletes use Sports Massage to help them in preparing for a race or event.  This would include weekly or bi-weekly massage sessions, stretching & strengthening along with their regular training schedule.  In other words, Sports Massage is a part of the training plan.  It's best to have a Sports Massage 1-2 days after a long run instead of before if all is going well.  This needs to be in the athlete's schedule so they can plan their workout type around the recovery.  


Sports Massage is a part of the "recovery" for most athletes, but it is also part of the prevention.  Many athletes can TOTALLY AVOID getting hurt in the first place when they use Sports Massage on a regular basis as a part of their training schedule.




Here is an excerpt from the American Massage Therapy Association's website on Sports Massage:


"Sports massage can be used to improve athletic performance, speed recovery, and can be utilized by all individuals who participate in any athletic and/or exercise program to help improve conditioning and maintain peak performance. Many professional and collegiate athletic programs employ or contract with massage therapists, and sports massage has been sought for many years by athletes of differing backgrounds for multiple reasons.  With the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines being very clear that activity is essential for people to be healthy, sports massage can be recommended to those individuals who participate in exercise programs as well as professional and collegiate athletes.

Research has shown that in relation to exercise and athletic participation massage can:*

  • Reduce muscle tension

  • Help athletes monitor muscle tone

  • Promote relaxation

  • Reduce muscle hypertonicity

  • Increase range of motion

  • Improve soft tissue function

  • Support recovery from the transient immunosuppression state

  • Support the recovery of heart rate variability and diastolic blood pressure after high-intensity exercise.

  • Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise

  • Improve exercise performance

  • Decrease delayed onset muscle soreness

  • Be the most efficient intervention for maintaining maximal performance time in subsequent exercise tests when combined with active recovery from maximal exercise

  • Reduce serum creatine kinase post exercise

  • Reduce swelling

  • Reduce breathing pattern disorders

  • Enhance athletic performance

  • May help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly

Individuals who participate in exercise and athletic programs who seek enhanced performance, improved conditioning, faster recovery, injury prevention, and assistance in maintaining peek fitness can benefit from massage therapy given by professional massage therapists working within their scope of practice. "


How can Sports Massage help? How is this different?

Sports Massage helps an athlete keep their body injury free for a longer period of time. In the long term, preparing for a race, recovering from an injury or from event training, Sports Massage helps the body recover 50% faster than rest alone, and helps the body avoid injury and creates longevity in sports performance. If you are having shin splint pain, for example, a Sports Massage will address all the muscles around that pattern: your shins, upper leg, feet, hips, low back, upper back, neck and arms. Possibly, you are pushing off your right toe and pulling back with your left arm as you run. This pattern can show up as shin splints for some people.


A Sports Massage will address an area of pain for different issues, for example headaches, insomnia or back pain-usually from working on the computer too long. This relationship is also long term, creating a partnership between client and therapist to create balance and pain free living in everyday life.


An Athletic Touch Sports Massage is a long term relationship, in which I assume that you will come back many times. With any of my Sports Massage sessions, I include stretching, strengthening, balancing, and breathing; I show you what to do at home to improve your recovery time. Your before and after pain/race times/efficiency is part of your overall treatments.


During a Sports Massage, I will show you what patterns are creating im-balance and/or pain in your body; with this knowledge, you can make adjustments to stay injury-free. You will learn to help yourself recover quicker, and to avoid injury by being more flexible, having stronger joints, balanced muscles and deeper breathing. I am your team memeber for your consistent best performance.


Why is it good to have worked with a Sports Massage Therapist prior to my event/race?

A Sports Massage Therapist learns what you need by working on you. It's like recognizing someone's face: the memory of what your muscle patterns need are memorized by the therapist. Once you work with a Sports Massage Therapist, they know what you need, what limits can be pushed with your body to still receive benefits, what areas of your body need extra stretching or extra attention.  


In short: they will know how much pressure they can use on you without you being sore, but using just the right amount of pressure so that your muscles relax.


After several sessions together, you can determine if the pressure was too much or just right.  One day after may feel different than 4 days after, etc.  By having a Sports Massage with a therapist you have just tried right before your event, you risk feeling very sore during your race.


By working with a therapist 4-6 months before your event, you work all of those issues out.  The therapist will know how to help you without hurting you. 


Try to work with your Sports Massage Therapist at least a few weeks prior to your event for best results.    



What is the best schedule for sports massage while I prepare for my Marathon?

Bring in or email me your Marathon training schedule so I can determine the best times for your massages. It is best to come in after your long run, or 2 days before your long run. If you are doing 3-10 mile runs type training, come right after one of those runs the day of, or the day after. Try several different times to determine how your body reacts best. Some people do better after a morning massage while some people prefer evening massage times.  Every body is different. I suggest at least 3 sports massage treatments if not 12. When you purchase 12 and save $180, then I map out the best times during training, pre-race and post-race. Check out the "12-Pack Sports Massage Package".  These are your best options. If you have any questions, call or email me and we can discuss what might be best for you and your training.




How can massage help improve my golf game?

The golf swing is a one-sided violent motion. An Athletic Touch Sports Massage can help your golf game in two ways: loosening tight areas and strengthening weak areas.


What golf stretches should I be doing to improve my golf game?

Soon, all of our stretches will be on this site for you to watch on video. For now, roll your wrists, put your arm over your head and lean to one side, roll your hips to start with. Call me or come in for more options.



Call 505-332-9292 for a Sports Massage today

FAQ: Sports Massage

Did You KNOW that Sports Massage has been proven to:


  • Reduce muscle tension

  • Increase range of motion

  • Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise

  • Improve exercise performance

  • Decrease delayed onset muscle soreness

  • Enhance athletic performance

  • May help prevent injuries when massage is received regularly


from AMTA's Massage Therapy for those who exercise 

From Elizabeth Quinn's:

Does Sports Massage Improve Performace or Recovery? 



"Recently, researchers at McMaster University reported that deep massage after an intense workout actually causes muscles to enlarge and grow new mitochondria.

Mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells, are responsible for converting nutrients into useful energy.

For this study, the researchers had men to exercise to exhaustion on stationary bicycles. After the workout, the men had a Swedish-style deep-tissue massage on one leg for 10 minutes.

Muscle biopsies were taken from one quadriceps muscle before and after the workout, and from both muscles immediately after a 10 minute massage of one leg, and again two and a half hours later.

The deep-tissue massage increased the size and number of new mitochondria more than exercising without massage. Increasing mitochondria can improve endurance performance by increasing the rate that muscles can utilize oxygen."


Read the entire article here

From Kerry Ann Frey's:

Benefits of Massage for Athletes

on Louisiana's Health & Fitness


"Physiological Effects

You may not realize it, but massage affects the cardiovascular system.  It dilates blood vessels, which helps them work more efficiently to promote circulation.  The manual assistance of encouraging venous blood flow back to the heart enhances blood flow, which delivers fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissue and promotes the removal of waste products and toxins.  Thanks to the relaxed state you’re in during and after the massage, your heart rate lowers. 

            More known and expected are the benefits of massage to the muscular system.  One of them directly ties to the cardiovascular benefits.  The increased and enhanced blood circulation helps to relieve muscle tension, reduce soreness and make for a faster recovery.  Then, the relaxed muscles can experience “an increase in range of motion and flexibility,” as explained in a study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.  Both of those benefits can lead to better athletic performance. 

            The latest research conducted by scientists from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging at McMaster University in Ontario shows that massage reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of new mitochondria, the energy-producing units in the cells, following a bout of strenuous exercise.  What does that mean?  It means that massage can help pain relief, build muscles and encourage their recovery as well.  Not only does massage feel good on the muscle tissues, it actually is good for them. 


Read the entire article here


Massage in Albuquerque
Massage in Albuquerque
Massage in Albuquerque

Benefits of Massage

  • Improves local circulation
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Relaxes muscles
  • Relieves insomnia
  • Promotes positive mood
  • Relieves anxiety and depression
  • Maintains flexibility
  • Reduces pain
  • Assists in eliminating wastes
  • Maintains healthy skin
  • Improves nutrient supply to body
  • Relieves stiff joints

Albuquerque Recommendations

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