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Massage therapy for competing athletes

Massage helps with the removal of metabolic waste released during exercise and improves recovery time; improving the overall health of muscle tissue and endurance. It comes as no surprise that many athletes turn to massage when training for competitions. Sports massage is a modality that is a little unique in the realm of massage; there are three different segments which are regular massage visits during the training stage, and then a quick vigorous massage right before the event, and then a deeper longer massage post event.

Pre competition massage

This type of massage is often minutes or couple of hours prior to the event. Helps warm up tissue, which is why this particular massage session is not relaxing, fast paced, meant to give the person energy for their event. Usually massage is given with the client fully clothed either on a table without linens or with the use of a chair designed for massage.

Post event massage

This is usually a couple days post event. Longer massage session time and usually performed in the typical massage setting on a table with complete set of linens and oil/massage lotion. Focus areas often include areas that were used during the competition and pressure is much deeper. Breaking down any scar tissue that is trying to form after the event, helps keep the muscles supple.

A great example of an athlete incorporating massage with their training to compete is Abby Wambach. Wambach is the all-time leading scorer in international soccer history with a whopping 184 goals. She held the title as the U.S.’ top scorer in 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cup as well as the 2004 and 2012 Olympics.

After winning the Women’s World Cup in 2015, Wambach retired as one of the most dominant players in the history of women’s soccer.


“Massage therapy is so important when it comes to recovery and preparation for competition. For so many years we did not have those types of resources with our national team and it made a huge difference when we did.”  -Abby Wambach, Olympians + Massage,  AMTA 2016

Jennifer Roldan, massage therapist at Northwest Wellness in Federal Way