What are your pre-event and post-event routines? Before an event, you’re probably stretching – maybe even doing active isolated stretching. Maybe you do a quick cool down or stretch after a game. But are your muscles getting the full preparation and recovery they need?
Pre-event and post-event massage is something you should consider adding to your wellness habits. Before an event, it aids in preparing soft tissue for activity. After an event, it helps the tissue recover. Both are very powerful in hindering potential injuries and delayed soreness.
Just like it sounds, a pre-event massage takes place before a game or competition. You should schedule day-of – ideally, so your therapy is finished 30-60 minutes before the event.
Now the difference with pre-event massage is that we’re not trying to improve or fix anything in the muscles or ligaments, unlike in regular therapeutic massage. The main goal here is to help you, the athlete, prepare mentally and physically for the event ahead.
The fast-paced, rhythmic method stimulates the muscles and prepares you for physical exertion. This helps the muscles to loosen, improving movement and range of motion – an idealistic state for an event.
We don’t want to focus on finding new issues or fixing old ones in this instance. If you are a runner, go into your appointment, and find out that your hamstrings are really tight, you’re going to end up focusing on that fact during your event instead of feeling good about your state of mind and abilities. And that’s probably going to result in a less-than-ideal performance. You also have an increase in adrenaline and stress or anxiety before a competition. This rise in stress can negatively affect the body, also resulting in poor performance. It also can boost muscle tone, which lowers flexibility and function.
So instead, we want to focus on loosening the muscles as much as possible without going deep to prepare them for the upcoming activity.
A pre-event massage can help encourage you and help you to focus on the game. The idea is to make you feel as if your body is prepared and ready to work – to make you feel confident in your body and it’s abilities. It also helps you to relax and clear your mind which in turn allows you to fully focus on your event.
Aptly named, a post-event massage is scheduled after your event. At this point, you are likely to feel sore, tired, and tense. And that’s the perfect time to add a massage to the mix.
A post-event massage’s purpose is to rid the body of the metabolic waste (e.g.: lactic acid) it accumulates during vigorous activity and to prevent delayed soreness, so it isn’t particularly deep or intense. It jump-starts the healing process for soft tissue recovery, and muscle tension, fatigue, and tightness can also decrease during this process.
Massage at this time can also help with tissue elasticity. Different techniques used here assist in increasing elasticity by raising the temperature and stretching the tissues. When muscles are tight, they reduce elasticity which affects flexibility and range of motion. Addressing this improves muscle function and helps prevent future injuries.
Benefits of Pre- and Post-Event Massage
There are tons of benefits to list here, but the most common benefits we see are:
- Injury prevention
- Better range of movement
- Enhanced muscle flexibility
- Improved blood circulation
- Less muscle tension
- Increase in overall performance
- Reduced/prevented delayed soreness
- Minimized build-up of tension
- Decreased fatigue
- Faster recovery time and return to training
- Better relaxation
If you think this is something that you’d like to do to enhance your performance, reach out to us. We’ll be happy to set up a session with you to help bring you to peak performance!