Using a combination of advanced techniques, sports massage aims to prevent stiffness and relieve areas of tension. It is always recommended that you see a qualified practitioner, visit a massage school or take a number of sports massage courses before practising any of these techniques.
These techniques are fairly useful in the context of self-massage, although you can also use them with a training buddy. Be sure to ask your buddy for feedback on your technique, pressure and form as this is how youll progress. If you dont have a training buddy, offer to massage a friend or relative and ask them for some honest feedback on your technique. Alternatively, sign up at a school of massage. Massage schools will have you practice on volunteer clients and this is a really effective way to develop your skill set.
Effleurage is perhaps the most common technique. Defined as a stroking technique, it involves using the palms of your hands and your fingers to apply massage oil to the body. Its most commonly used at the beginning and end of each massage, and you can use light pressure or deeper pressure over larger areas of skin to relieve any aches and pains caused by sports. You can also use your lower arm during this technique to further penetrate the muscles.
Petrissage is another common technique and its really just a very simple kneading technique. Kneading and simple hand movements are used to break down and relieve tension from certain muscle groups, and the general idea is for you to very gently lift one muscle away from the rest of the muscles, roll it or squeeze it, then lower it back down. Tension is relieved in this way and muscles groups can become more relaxed.
It is really important that you take great care when massaging. If you are too rough with your technique, clients can go away feeling bruised and sore. Although clients might expect a small amount of pain, particularly from a deep massage associated with relieving pain from overworked muscle groups, too much pain is completely counter-productive. Be rhythmical with your movements and use gentle or brisk movements depending on whether you want to relax or stimulate the client. Above all, always remember what your client needs and adjust your technique to meet their requirements.