Why Sports Massage Isn't Only For Pro Athletes


It is a common misconception that sports massage is a treatment exclusively intended for professional athletes or very active sportspersons with a whole host of injuries. The name “sports massage” probably doesn’t help matters but what often surprises people is that there are a number of different forms of sports massage which are designed to tend to different pain points and can, in fact, help just about anybody.

Yes, that means even if you live a largely sedentary lifestyle and feel a twinge having sat awkwardly at work, or you’re someone who likes to keep fit but you’re feeling a little sore in between training sessions, it will still benefit you.

Are there different types of sports massage?

  • Pre-Event Sports Massage: This type of massage is typically given in the hours leading up to a sports event, with a focus on the areas that will receive the most strain or exert the most energy. Pre-event sports massages are primarily designed to warm up the muscles to ensure prime performance and minimise injury but it can help to calm nerves.
  • Post-Event Sports Massage: Similar to pre-event massage, a post-event massage usually takes place in the hours that follow a sporting event to help reduce soreness, relax the muscles and aid quick recovery. 
  • Training Sports Massage: Having regular massages in between training sessions or competitions helps to reduce inflammation and, in turn, reduce recovery time. This also acts as a window for a physio to address any tension or minor injuries before they become problematic.
  • Rehabilitative Sports Massage: In the event that you’ve already sustained an injury through sports (or even through everyday activities like lifting heavy objects at work), then a rehabilitative sports massage can help reduce inflammation, improve tendon flexibility and break down scar tissue to support recovery and alleviate pain.

What are the different techniques involved in sports massage? 

Sports massage as a whole is based on Swedish massage and uses a wide variety of techniques, each varying in strokes and speed to support physical well-being and recovery both pre-event and post-event.

Effleurage (stroking)

This form of sports massage typically uses a stroking technique and mediums such as oils to warm and relax the muscles. This helps improve blood circulation and supports lymphatic drainage.

Petrissage (Kneading)

This form of sports massage focuses on mobilising the body’s soft tissue using techniques such as lifting and squeezing at varying pressures and speeds. This technique is often used by therapists to increase blood circulation, support the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the body and can even aid removal of waste products from the body.

Tapotement (Hacking)

 As the “tap” part of the name might suggest, this technique uses a rhythmic to do XX motion Tapotement is a specific technique used in Swedish massage. It is a rhythmic percussion, most frequently administered with the edge of the hand, a cupped hand or the tips of the fingers.


Using the thumbs or balls of the fingers, your massage therapist can create a penetrative pressure that helps improve blood circulation and relieve pressure in muscles, tendons or joints that are particularly tight or strained from movement.


Vibration therapy uses the hands to create a vibrating movement, not dissimilar to the motion of a muscle gun. This technique helps to stimulate soft tissues, increase blood flow and can help relax or lengthen your muscles to decrease the risk of injury for those with regular training schedules.

Trigger Pointing 

Trigger points, also known as muscular knots, develop when soft tissues are overused or experience repetitive trauma causing a build up in the muscle fibres. Typically this occurs as a result of sport and exercise, so the trigger pointing technique, which is designed to relieve pain and muscle tightness, is commonly applied in post-event circumstances.

How does sports massage benefit me?

Regardless of how active you are in your day-to-day lifestyle, sports massages are really effective for:

  • Enhancing the healing process for your injured or fatigued joints and muscles
  • Improving sporting or functional performance
  • Increasing circulation and blood flow and lymph fluids to damaged areas
  • Supporting the immune system
  • Reducing stress, anxiety and tension in the body
  • Improving mobility and loosening tight muscles
  • Promoting long-term changes in the way your body operates to reduce your chance of injury down the line

At West 1, our trained physiotherapists are professionals in these various types of sports massage and can identify the right technique and treatment option to suit your individual needs. And you don’t have to be playing sports to benefit from our sports massage treatment. 

The specialists at our Harley Street clinic know the stress of many office jobs in London can have a significant adverse effect on the body. Being slumped over a computer, or clicking a mouse all day can also promote poor posture and the pain that can bring. So if you have ongoing pain or even a small niggle that’s causing you some discomfort, then get in touch and we can help get to the root of the issue and find the best sports massage route to get you back on track.

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