When it comes to being an athlete, your day to day life can be pretty grueling and demanding on your body. The repetitive movements and strain can take a toll on your body if you’re not careful, and there’s nothing more devastating to an athlete’s career than a severe injury that could have been avoided with proper care and foresight. Between pushing themselves to the breaking point, day in and day out, and the constant motion and high impact, athletes can find their bodies wearing thin.
One of the best ways to ensure a healthier body is to see a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) who works specifically with athletes. Sports Massage Therapists (SMTs), or as they’re sometimes referred to, Athletic Massage Therapists, are registered massage therapists who use massage therapy techniques to not only offer great preventative care of the body, but work wonders with clinical massage procedures specifically tailored to athletes, helping them recover quicker and ease the strain of competitive athletics on their bodies.
A Sports Massage Therapist is an RMT who has completed the National Sport Massage Certification Program. After taking massage courses and graduating from a massage therapy education program, you are eligible to take the RMT registration exams to become a registered massage therapist. As an RMT you accumulate the hours and experience needed for Sports Massage certification. In fact, some of these hours can be accumulated as a massage therapy student before graduation. The final step for certification is to complete the written and practical exams offered by the Canadian Sports Massage Association.
Athletes at all levels, professional, recreational and on national or Olympic teams, rely on sports massage therapists. Even if you just play sports recreationally, sports massage therapy can help you with the strain on your tendons and muscles. Sports massage therapists may also work with fitness centres or operate a private or shared clinic. Not just for professional athletes, sports massage therapy is useful in a wide variety of scenarios. If you have a job that’s physically demanding, the stress and strain on your body can be very comparable to that of a professional athlete.
Sports massage therapy involves different stages of therapy tailored to the athlete. The training stage before a competition calls for a different level and nature of therapy than the competition stage and likewise the post-competition or recovery stage. Proper athletic massage therapy can not only help to address strain and injury, but extend the range of flexibility of the body and prevent future injuries.
Unlike a full body massage, sports massage therapy focuses on the areas most likely to be injured or overworked in athletes, providing specific care to the parts of the body that are the most integral to the performance of the individual. The job of a sports massage therapist is not only to lessen injuries sustained from rigorous performance, but also to improve the flexibility and range of motion of the athlete, while helping to optimize the body for the best results in the sport.
Because a sports massage therapist focuses on specific parts of the body, they may improve the endurance of athletes, limit the fatigue they experience, and prevent common injuries from happening with focused sports massage techniques.
If you’re a professional or amateur athlete, or just enjoy frequent exercise, seeing an athletic or sports massage therapist is the best way to ensure that you’re participating in the sport in a safe and effective way that not only optimizes your performance, but limits potential injuries.