Guest Post: A History of the Sports Massage

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Sports massage is one of the best healing practices for athletes, contributing to injury prevention as well as treating various types of sports injuries quickly and successfully. With the use of Swedish, deep tissue and stretching techniques, the massage improves athletic performance and recovery. It has been around for thousands of years, dating back from ancient Rome and even Greece, where sports massage was especially popular during the Olympics back in the day. If you’d like to know more about this old and very appreciated practice, we’ve got a bunch of interesting facts to introduce you to.

Massage BC

Not only was sports massage performed in China as early as 8000 BC for ailments, but it’s also been very popular with ancient Persians and Indians who did a lot of healing precisely with this type of massage. Ancient Romans also used sports massage to prepare the gladiators and help them recover after battles as well as to keep them ready for Olympic events. The first school of massage was created in China in 100 AD.

19th century

It’s debatable whether the theories and techniques of medical massage were introduced by Johann Mezger or Pehn Leng, because terms such as effleurage (gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (pounding), friction (rubbing) and vibration (shaking) started to become widely used at the time and continue to be present in the world of massage even today. In 1900, the Finnish School of Massage presented all the sports massage methods.

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Massage in the 20th century

In 1924, the modern history of the sports massage began, when a Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals in the Olympics. Claiming that sports massage he received regularly from his massage therapist had a significant effect on his performance, the public went wild about this type of massage. From that time on, trainers at colleges started performing massages to prepare jocks for their tournaments. Having a soothing massage after practice was especially beneficial for their mind and body, which has been proven to have major effects even today. Nothing feels better than having your skin rubbed and knead in a relaxing ambiance and candles spread all over the room. In case you want to try out the calming effects a sports massage has on the body, make sure you shop for wholesale candles and place them all over the room to create the most comforting ambiance while allowing your body to completely recover. As massage techniques became widely spread in Europe, American athletes followed the example and began to use sports massage in their training, which led to the National Sports Massage Team launch in 1986. Finally, in 1996, sports massage therapists became an inseparable part of the medical team at the Atlanta Olympics.

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Sports massage today

Sports massage has evolved enormously throughout the years, and everyone who’d like to practice being a sports masseuse will need to go through specific training. Namely, aside from easing off stiffness and pain, sports massage will also increase mobility in muscles and joints. From dysfunctional muscles to body swelling, soft tissue injury, restrictive range of motion, high heart rate and high blood pressure, sports massage is now used to improve athletic performance by focusing on both psychological and physiological conditions. There are three contexts in which sports massage can assist an athlete and those are pre-event, post-event and injury treatment. If an athlete receives massage before a match, their blood flow will be established warming the muscles up well, which is a good way to prevent injuries. When a massage is received after a game, it’ll calm the nervous system, but recover the muscle tissues and help expel the toxins away from the body.  It’s also very good at keeping anxiety at bay while increasing mental alertness.

Sports massage has been around for centuries and as time passed by, we’ve discovered an array of benefits that it had on the human body. From preparing the body for sports activities to alleviating pain, helping blood flow and expelling toxins, sports massage is very beneficial for both the body and mind, assisting athletes in preparing for the games mentally and physically. If need be, a sports massage can also speed up the recovery after a serious injury and help athletes come back to the field faster.

Author Bio:

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to home improvement, DIY and interior design. In her free time she enjoys reading and preparing healthy meals for her family.

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