Treatment technique

This massage should be given as soon as possible after the event and certainly within the first one to two hours. The massage will then be more effective, as the waste build up is removed more quickly and the recovery will be faster. Great care must be taken when giving post-event massage as the muscles may be tender, sore and painful. This is partly due to the pressure of accumulated waste and also due to any injuries or micro-traumas that may have occurred during performance. Very light pressure should be applied initially, becoming deeper as muscle relaxation is felt. As the prime aim is to clear away metabolites, the strokes should begin proximally near the lymph nodes. This congested area is cleared first and the manipulations work downwards, gradually pushing fluids into the cleared areas (this is explained in lymphatic drainage in Chapter 3).

The movements begin with light stroking and effleurage, gentle muscle lifting, rolling and shaking. Kneading, wringing and picking up should not be used until the muscle has relaxed. The flesh will not be soft enough to yield to the pressure, and rubbing the hard muscle will cause pain and increase tension. Changing the pressure over different areas is essential in post-event massage - it must be very light over painful, tense areas, becoming gradually deeper as the muscle is felt to relax. The therapist must develop the ability to sense the condition of the tissues through the hands and adapt the massage accordingly.

Begin proximally to clear the upper congested area first.

Gentle stroking over the part will give an indication of the condition of the tissues. This will provide feedback on areas of tension, painful spots, tightness and rigidity. Use very light movements initially.

Effleurage: begin proximally and work down, one hand width at a time. For example, on the leg Figure 11.2 Stroking to sense begin on the thigh towards the inguinal nodes in condition of tissues.

the groin - push up, move down one hand width push up, and so on until the knee is reached. Increase the depth as the muscle relaxes. Keep the movement slow and rhythmic. Then move below the knee and cover the lower leg.

Muscle shaking or vibrations: place the flat of the hand on the muscle and gently shake it up and down and from side to side.

Muscle rolling: gently grasp and lift the muscle; roll it first to one side and then to the other.

Work in this way until the muscles soften and then add any of the following: ^ kneading ^ wringing ^ picking up.

Deep stroking: use the tips of the flattened fingers, the heel or the ulnar border of the hand to apply short, deep strokes to the muscle belly to separate the muscle compartments and loosen the fascia.

Effleurage from distal to proximal to complete the massage.

Figure 11.3 Muscle vibrations.
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