Before You Hop on That Table After a Strenuous Swim, It’s Important To Know What Type of Massage Will Benefit You
You’ve just completed lap after lap in the pool, and you’re in need of some serious massage to help mitigate the aches and pains in your muscles and joints that are surely on the way. But, before you hop on that table, it’s important to note that all massage techniques are not the same. To truly receive all the benefits inherent in massage therapy is to know the proper technique.
“The type of massage you need before a competition or workout is not the same as the one you need after,” writes Dr. G. John Mullen, who possesses a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science of Health from Purdue University.
He writes that a pre-swim sports massage, or, preparation massage, is a type of sports massage that is brisk and active. “The massage is designed to prepare the swimmer’s body for the event. The massage therapist focuses on the muscles and parts of the body that will be used for the event.”
The post-swim sports massage, he writes, is a type of massage that is performed after an event, at least 10 to 15 minutes after. “Once the swimmer has cooled down and rehydrated, the massage can begin. The massage is not a full-body massage. It consists of calming techniques, compression, therapeutic stretching, broadening strokes, and various effleurage techniques.”
Dr. Mullen’s “Do’s and Don’ts of Sports Massage”
Practice self-myofascial release techniques.
Use the right modalities and techniques for the preparation and recovery goals.
Express pain, discomfort, and concerns with the therapist.
Get recommendations from trusted professionals about therapists.
Express your training and recovery needs with the therapist.
Make sure the therapist has experience working with swimmers.
Get a relaxing sports massage the week of the event.
Practice self-care techniques.
Make sure the massage therapist understands the rules and regulations established about massage, as defined in the USA Swimming Safe Sport Handbook.
Work only with a licensed professional. You can find a licensed and board-certified therapist.
Receive a massage at an event in a private space. It must be out in the open.
Receive a deep-tissue massage within 48 hours of competing. This can create muscle breakdown and soreness.
Get on the table if you are feeling dizzy or dehydrated.
Experiment with a new massage technique, plan, or therapist before or on the day of an event.
Suffer through a painful massage. Getting a massage after swimming should promote relaxation and recovery; it should not hurt.
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