Effleurage Sports Massage Techniques – When Do You Use?

Sports come with a probability of getting injured. And the injuries range from a minor ankle sprain to a large muscle tear.

If you are a sports person, you might have encountered any of the common sports injuries including muscle pulls, sprains, strains, or dislocations.

All these debilitating injuries can keep you out of sports for some time because healing takes time. So it’s better to prevent these injuries or at least lowers the chances of any unfavorable event.

Sports massage conditions your body for all the vigorous moves during sport, thus lowering your chance of getting injured and keeping you in good form.

The most basic massage technique called effleurage is an effective method to start with if you are looking for a comforting therapeutic session.

Read on to know more about effleurage sports massage, its purpose and when you need to use it.

Purpose of Effleurage in Sports Massage

Effleurage is a gentle massage technique that includes light stroking movements over the skin in the direction of the heart. It has no side effects and you can use it at any time on any body segment.

The effleurage sports massage technique has 2 main purposes

  1. Used as a warm-up and cool-down method.
  2. Used to connect other techniques in sports massage.

1. Warm-up and cool-down technique

Sports massage is very extensive and includes a series of other massage techniques along with effleurage, but it is not feasible to perform any other type of massage without applying effleurage.

The pressure applied during effleurage is only superficial, it does not directly affects the deeper muscles, however, it prepares your body for other deep massage techniques. 

It is applied before other massages because the light strokes of effleurage make the client familiar with a foreign touch, increase the temperature of the skin and underlying tissues, and also direct fresh blood flow to the area being treated which prepares the client for more extensive and forceful massages.

After the application of deep massage and stretching, effleurage comes in handy once again at the end because the deep massages are somewhat harsh on your body.

As the aim of a massage session is to induce relaxation, effleurage helps the client relax in the end. Thus we call effleurage a warm-up and cool-down technique in sports massage.

2.  The connection between other techniques

Effleurage is not just used at the start and end of a sports massage session, but also is used between the different techniques.

The deeper and more forceful techniques might be uncomfortable for a client, and switching from one harder stroke to another can cause damage to your muscle and other tissues.

So, we use effleurage as a connecting technique for all other massages to ensure the client’s safety and comfort.

When Do You Need Effleurage in Sports Massage?

Effleurage is an essential component of sports massage and you need it before and after training.

1. Before training

Before you start practicing for your matches, you need to get effleurage done because of the immense pre-training benefits of this technique.

If you wonder why effleurage is necessary before training, then here is your answer.

It reduces your chances of getting sports injuries

Sports injuries occur due to either overuse or misuse. Effleurage conditions your muscles for the stresses exerted during sports. It makes your muscle familiar with the workout, and help your body adapt rapidly to the changes after training.

It improves your body’s elasticity, metabolism, and circulation to accommodate new challenges. By preparing your body to bear such strains and by increasing your flexibility, effleurage prevents your muscles from major sports injuries.

It enhances your sports performance

Your sports performance is enhanced when your body is in a relaxed state and you are mentally prepared for the exercise. You can train more efficiently when your muscles are in an optimum state of relaxation because the power of contraction of your muscles is much higher when free from fatigue.

Applying effleurage before or after exercise, lets your muscle recover from fatigue and stimulates your body for the upcoming training.

The stroking movement of effleurage has a stimulatory effect on your muscles. Stroking exerts a mechanical force on your skin and the underlying muscles, making them much more compliant with the training.

It reduces muscle tightness and joint stiffness

Effleurage increases your body’s flexibility by reducing muscle tightness. The stretching effect induced by effleurage deforms the tight bands formed in your muscles over time.

This action increases your muscle length, improves your joint range of motion, and also breaks down any joint adhesions formed due to inactivity.

2. After training

During training, your body is under constant physical tension which leads to some chemical changes inside your muscle at the cellular level.

You experience the result of those chemical changes in the form of fatigue, body aches, and muscle soreness. To get rid of all this, you need effleurage after your training.

This is how effleurage helps you go back to a relaxed state.

It ensures fast recovery

The aches and soreness that you feel in your body after training are due to muscle tearing. Effleurage increases the temperature of the area being treated, increasing the blood flow in that region.

Your muscles heal faster with oxygen-carrying fresh blood flow. Effeluarge also imparts a flushing or sweeping effect that removes all the toxic chemicals and dead cells from the area, creating a healthy environment for your muscles to recover.

Once your muscles are recovered from previous training, you are good to go for the next practice or exercise session.

It promotes mind-body relaxation

Effleurage also has a soothing effect on your brain along with your body. Applying effleurage after a heavy workout or a vigorous training session is a must to do tip for athletes.

The light strokes of effleurage activate your good mood as it promotes the release of your happy hormones and inhibits the stress hormones. And as we already discuss that optimum muscle relaxation is an essential component for strong muscle contraction in the next training session.

Final thoughts:

Effleurage Sports Massage

To sum up everything, effleurage is a superficial massage technique used in sports massage alongside other massage techniques.

It acts as a method of warming up and cooling down and is also used while transitioning from one massage technique to another during sports massage.

Effleurage aids in the sports massage session at all levels and aims to improve general relaxation, flexibility, recovery, and injury prevention for athletes and sportsmen.

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