What Is Sports Massage?

Sports massage is one of the best known types of massage. We hear his name a lot, but do we know what it means, where it comes from and what it’s good for? In this writing, I will try to answer the most important questions about sports massage…

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What is sports massage?

Sports massage is the use of certain techniques of Swedish massage to prepare for some form of physical exertion, increase performance, or regenerate after sport.

So sports massage is the same as Swedish massage?

Almost. Swedish massage is a large, common collective, which also includes sports massage. In the language of primary school mathematics, not all Swedish massage is a sports massage, but all sports massage is a Swedish massage. But the same can be said, for example, about the relationship between medical massage and Swedish massage. Furthermore, most of the modern, western, oily massages that you can learn today (such as wellness massages, “stress-relieving” massages, etc.) are all Swedish massages; the different names only indicate the way, purpose, environment, or simply serve a good marketing strategy.

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Origin and history of sports massage

There was no tradition of massage in the West for a long time, only connoisseurs of Eastern traditions knew what it was and what it was for. However, around the turn of the 18-19th century, Stockholm physician and athlete Pehr Henrik Ling developed a system based on manual techniques. Professor Ling was an advocator and introductor of physique development and gymnastic exercises in Sweden. The “invention” of modern massage was not his main focus. He didn’t even name it, he simply used it as a post-workout regeneration, sort of a supplement. However, because of this small “siding,” Ling is considered one of the pioneers and forerunners of modern physio-therapy today.

Pehr Henrik Ling

His techniques were later studied by various Western doctors throughout Europe, who at the time simply called Swedish massage because of Master Ling’s origins.

Dutch physician Johann Georg Mezger, the father of modern manual physio-therapy, first published the basic concepts of Swedish massage, that is, general, modern massage.

Johann Georg Mezger

5 basic tricks of Swedish massage: smoothing, rubbing, kneading, tapping, vibrating.

These tricks and their effects have been studied by an increasing number of physicians who, based on their experimental results, created identified areas of application in medicine.

This is how general medical massage was born, which is nothing more than the application of the techniques of Swedish massage in Western medicine.

Of the 5 basic tricks, kneading is the most intense, deepest, but tapping and strong, intense vibration produce similar effects. Examining these and their combinations, doctors have found that the blood supply to the muscles can be temporarily increased up to 15-20 times. Along with this idea, Swedish massage began to be used in athletes, paying special attention and quantity to these three basic tricks. This is how general sports massage was born.

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Effects and benefits of sports massage

Due to the use of many intense kneading, tapping and vibrating techniques during sports massage; the basic effects of the massage (stimulation of blood circulation & metabolism) are much greater than with a “smooth” Swedish massage. Furthermore, since kneading lifts the muscles out of place and processes them; it can also deal with muscle cramps and muscle tension more effectively, which makes sports massage one of the best stress-relieving massage.

Its biggest advantage is that it acts much faster and more permanently than many other types of massage due to its intensity and deep, powerful tricks. In addition, since kneading, tapping and vibrating are those three basic tricks of Swedish massage; which do not necessarily require a carrier (oil, cream) – often easier to perform without it – its easier to do it anywhere, anytime.

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How long does a sports massage?

This absolutely varies, usually depending on the purpose of the application. In the mentioned “anywhere, anytime” case; a 4-5 minutes intensive sports massage can really have a very good effect on a sudden onset of muscle cramps anywhere, anytime. When used in warm up for athletes, they are usually not do for more than 8-10 minutes. This is roughly the limit beyond which the calming effect of massage can be detriment of performance in a sport.

Each massage is also inherently relaxing and energizing; and if the masseur wants to better support the former, he/she uses slower, softer techniques for a longer period of time; and if the latter, he/she makes more intense tricks for a shorter time.

Of course, there are also 30, 40, 60 or even 90 minutes versions of sports massage. These are usually done by sports masseurs when we visit them for regeneration. In this case, since the intensive techniques are used for a long time, the above-mentioned relaxation is also strengthened in the body.

The relationship between sports massage and Dynamic Rapid Massage

Sports massage can be considered a general type of massage as it can be performed along a wide variety of concepts; thus, several types of sports massages can be distinguished. Dynamic Rapid Massage is a massage performed according to a specific concept. It was originally developed for doctors and paramedics working in long shifts to energize them. In fact, two-thirds use sports massage elements (kneading tapping, vibration) in part; and one-third combine joint movings from Yumeiho and other oriental techniques with self-developed tricks. Its unique feature is that – for the greater efficiency – it places great emphasis on the relationship of rhythm and massage and applies most of its techniques with the method of momentum coordination. When used for training in athletes, intensive sports massage sessions are applied for about 8-10 minutes as in a traditional warm up sports massage, followed by a 1-2 minute spinal manipulations.

Dinamikus Rapid Masszázs - Everness Fesztivál

So actually we can say that Dynamic Rapid Massage is a specific sports massage. There is also reason to say this. Many competitors have already thanked the medals won in various competitions for the special rhythmic Dynamic Sports Massage, which performed with momentum coordination.

Author: Sándor Nagy


Dynamic Sports Massage with momentum coordination – Arm techniques

Nagy Sándor