Pre- and Post-event Sports Massage

The role of massage in supporting and enhancing athletic performance is growing. Is there a difference in pre- and post-event massage?

Sports massage is different than the therapeutic or relaxation massage you might be used to. Sports massage is usually performed on a client dressed in loose clothing and involves applying therapeutic massage and stretching to assist an athlete’s performance or speed recovery from an activity. The type of sports massage you receive is based on your goal and when you get your massage in relation to the event.

Pre-Event massage is usually 10-30 minutes long and generally happens the day of and prior to the event. The focus is on preparation for high-intensity activity not to correct dysfunction or reduce stress. Therapists will use compression, kneading, ROM & active stretching, vibration and tapotement–all performed at an “up-tempo” pace. Remember, the goal is get the athlete AMPED UP. 

Inter-Event massage can happen between events happening on the same day. Similar to pre-event massage, it’s fast-paced and typically no more than 10 minutes.

Post-Event massage happens after the event, usually within 72 hours. It’s focused on recovery, increasing circulation, reducing muscle tension and overall calming the athlete. Therapists use effleurage (stroking), petrissage (kneading), broadening compression, joint mobilization, and assisted stretching. No deep tissue work, muscles need to recover more before that happens. Sessions are usually 30-45 minutes plus assessment & aftercare counseling.

Maintenance massage happens during the training program. It’s typically 60-90 minutes focused on paying attention to rehabilitation and/or chronic issues, like that frozen shoulder or crazy sore calves. It’s an opportunity to deal with both biomechanical issues and overload (or training errors). This is where deep-tissue & targeted Swedish massage, stretches, friction and trigger point work are appropriate.

At SVMTG, our skilled massage therapists know exactly how to vary techniques for each of these very different needs. Add us into your training regimen today.