Warm-up & Cool-down Massage

A warm-up massage is designed to enhance the body temperature and prepare an individual physically as well as mentally/ emotionally before participating in any competition - athletics, dance or any other such activity, to enable him or her to achieve peak performance. It is given prior to participation in any activity requiring physical exertion. On the other hand, a cool-down massage (also known as warming down massage) denotes any workout that would enable the body to change steadily from a state of exert to a resting state. This massage is given following an activity that involves physical exertion.

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Warm-up massage

A warm-up massage is given prior to an exercise, competition or recital as an addition to, but not as an alternate for, the physical preparation or warm-up. In effect, receiving a massage prior to a workout, an athletic event or artistic performance, such as dancing, has proved to offer physiological (physical) as well as psychological (mental) advantages.

Precisely speaking, receiving a warm-up massage prior to any performance develops a state of preparedness inside the muscles as well as tissues by means of encouraging blood circulation and also engendering a fresh and profuse supply of blood carrying oxygen to a particular part of the body. This action is also known as hyperemia (presence of an exceptionally large amount of blood in a body part).

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A good massage also facilitates the muscles to continue working for longer periods and also become further effectual by means of lessening tension and enhancing the suppleness of rigid muscle groups. In addition, a massage also has the aptitude to augment the general condition of well-being, thus helping in calming, increasing concentration, centering as well as positive thinking techniques.

It is important to note that any massage given prior to a workout or an event ought to be light, of a brief period, generic and of course, warming. Importance should be given to the muscles that would be used during that specific activity. The speed of the massage ought to be exciting as well as cadenced so as to provide stimulation to relax as well as invigorate. You should ensure that the massage sessions do not comprise any aching or high-impact methods. In fact, profound cross-fiber friction should not be advised just before undertaking a workout. In addition, you should also be careful that you are not overburdening the muscles or providing relaxation to the recipient to the extent where he/ she may start feeling sleepy or lose focus. Owing to such rationale, it is ideal to limit the warm-up massage up to 15 or 20 minutes before an exercise or any other event requiring physical and mental exertion and alacrity. It would also be perfect if the warm-up massage is applied around 30 to 40 minutes prior to exercising or any event, in the form of an addition to the real warm-up.

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In case a person needs to perform to the best of his/ her capability, it is necessary that the individual's physical ability and mental concentration are coordinated. In other words, peak performance by any individual is only possible when his/ her body and mind are in harmony. In such cases, applying performance massage helps the recipient to experience a harmony between the body and mind before undertaking any activity that requires exertion of both.

A good warm-up massage provides the recipient with a number of benefits before undertaking any exercise or participating in a competitive event that needs the body and mind to be synchronized prior to the exertion. It offers excellent idle or free time to the recipient to mentally concentrate on the approaching event and, at the same time, sets off a robust effect that helps to augment the competitive edge. Warm-up massage also offers adequate relaxation as well as reduction of nervous anxiety enabling the recipient to present a superior feat very naturally. In addition, this form of massage helps to eliminate the waste products from the muscles and, at the same time, supplies it with oxygenated blood, thereby producing a physiological setting for best possible performance. Warm-up massage also offers a chance to practice meditation or employ positive thinking techniques that are favourable for superior performances.

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It is very important to unwind or relax an individual who is extremely restless and abnormally tense or excited (hypertense) during the course of the warm-up massage. Calming down the recipient enables him/ her to be additionally focused and keep away from dispersing or wasting physical energy. In such cases, the technique of the practitioner/ therapist ought to be measured as well as rhythmic, generating a near-mesmerizing impact on the nervous person. In addition, the therapist may also concentrate on breathing techniques and mild stretching to assist the recipient in having a feeling of buoyancy and free movement. Even the tone and timbre of the therapist/ practitioner's voice is vital to direct the recipient to the state of optimal presentation.

While a therapist readies for carrying out a warm-up performance massage, he/ she ought to always bear in mind the instructions mentioned here. Always try to keep the massage session brief, for a maximum of 20 minutes' duration and work gently. Remember, you should never apply any deep pressure or particular actions, for instance, cross-fiber friction, as done in Swedish massage. Moreover, the massage should be given maintaining a rhythm and exciting pace.

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While applying the warm-up massage, it is important to adopt a conservative style prior to undertaking a workout, as this will prevent you from doing too much. At the same time, ensure that you are keeping off from the body areas that are healing from any injury. This guideline is applicable for massage given just prior to exercising or an event as well as even a couple of days before an event that requires optimum or peak performance.

Cool-down massage

As we have discussed earlier, receiving a performance massage is also helpful following an athletic competition, any artistic presentation or even a demanding workout. In such cases, performance massage helps to support a common condition of resting, lessen dawdling muscle tension and also get rid of muscle aches that occur subsequently. Receiving this form of massage also facilitates the fast recovery of muscles from fatigue and weariness. Even the time taken for recovering from exertion may also be reduced considerably when an individual receives a good massage session following an event that requires exertion.

Following a workout, the muscles become congested and fatigued, especially after an utmost physical hard work. In such cases, the muscles as well as the tissues are packed with metabolic wastes and there is a need for assisting the circulatory system to get rid of such waste substances from the body. Hence, applying the circulatory methods of flushing, compression and energy movements would be especially effectual to reinstate balance and stability.

When a massage is given to an individual following any exertion, it is important for the therapist to be caring to the nature as well as warmth of the muscles of the recipient, as they may vary much from their earlier session. The therapist should also ensure that the pressures applied by him/ her do not result in any kind of pain. They also need to be conscious of the fact that some muscles may prove to be excessively sensitive to their touch. Therefore, it is important for the therapist to measure the pressure applied by him/ her for that reason and give the massage steadily with the aim of relaxing and loosening up the muscle system of the body (musculature).

In addition, make some water available for the recipient soon after the workout. Drinking water will help to avoid dehydration, which can otherwise by awfully detrimental. In case the therapist has a feeling that the recipient has either sustained an injury or gone beyond the limitation of the training and workout, it would be prudent to refer the recipient to a primary healthcare professional, for instance, an athletic trainer, a sports medicine specialist or a dance coach.

It is important to note that individuals enduring hyperthermia (exceptionally high body temperature) should not be given any massage, but referred to a primary healthcare professional. Among other things, the symptoms of hyperthermia may include profuse perspiration, nausea, trembling or chilling, an unstable way of walking, parched skin, an agonizing pressure in the head, exceptional exhaustion/ weariness, absence of focus or concentration and extreme cramping or spasms.

In case you notice any of these symptoms in the recipient, make him/ her lie down, provide them with some fluids and call the doctor immediately. In such cases, no massage should be given, since doing so may only worsen their symptoms and increase nausea, unsteadiness or fatigue.

When the weather is cold, make the recipient take a warm shower and let him/ her loosen and relax their body comprehensively prior to applying a massage. On the other hand, during dry weather, the recipient ought to keep their sweat clothes on with a view to avoid chilling or prevent the muscles from becoming needlessly rigid.

Always remember to restrict the duration of the cool-down massage to around 20 minutes or even less. In addition, the sessions ought to be balanced. However, if there is any kind of stiffness or tension on any part of the recipient's body, the therapist may spend more times to attend these problems, if he/ she so desires. Extra attention to the stiff and tensed area may be given by massaging these places with variations in compression as well as mild stretching of the muscles.

It is important to bear in mind that a good massage may perhaps be a vital motivating factor to achieve new fitness levels or superior performance. The experience of the massage ought to be in harmony with utmost or peak performance, both physically and mentally.

While getting ready to apply a cool-down performance massage, a therapist or practitioner should always remember the following guidelines. First and foremost, the therapist ought to be conscious regarding the temperature vis-à-vis overheating as well as chilling. At the same time, it is important to understand that the recipient may perhaps be exhausted physically or emotionally and, hence, the pressure applied during massage should always be kept light. Make an arrangement for some water as the recipient may use it after the massage session if he/ she feels dehydrated. This is important for dehydration may result in severe consequences and may be require immediate medical help. Most importantly, any individual enduring hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature) should not be given any form of massage.

Cool-down performance massage or a massage given following a workout or athletic performance has several benefits. Such a massage encourages relaxation from the tensions as well as overuse, which usually takes place when an individual has undergone a physical exertion or strenuous activity. Giving a cool-down performance massage will make the recipient feel much better both physically and mentally. A good cool-down performance massage may also assist in lessening the irritating pains as well as throbbing that generally result in serious injuries.

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