Increasingly, the use of high-quality, professional grade topicals are being integrated with CBD sports massage and soft tissue manipulation
These protocols improve activation, recovery and restoration/rehabilitation. CBD sports massage, when combined with mobilization, flexibility and strengthening exercises, improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.
The Role of Massage in Sports
Athlete care and today’s sports medicine staff have evolved and are much different in their look and approach when compared to the old-school traditional sports medicine staffs consisting of just the athletic trainer and the strength coach.
We no longer call it sports medicine; it is now called high-performance staff.
This staff takes a team approach and consists of the team doctor, athletic trainer, strength and conditioning coach, physical therapist, mental conditioning coach, sport scientist, bio mechanist, and massage therapist.
Matthew C. Krause, ATC, a registered strength and conditioning coach emeritus, says, “The massage therapist is the new super-utility staff member on the high-performance team. They work with players pre- and post-game. They help within the training room with rehabs; they are in the weight room working on players pre-lift. For industries shifting to the high-performance team, having a massage therapist on staff is a must.”
The days of just getting your athletes bigger, faster and stronger are gone. Movement quality has become just as important as strength for the new-age athlete. Mobility and flexibility of such major joints as the shoulders, hips, lower back and ankle is the most important part of the current athlete’s assessment when it comes to injury prevention and performance.
The high-performance team develops individualized programs for the athletes with the massage therapist playing an especially important role in the day-to-day regimens for pre–game activation and post-game recovery. This is not a relaxing massage from the spa. Sports massage therapists are manually mobilizing adhesions in the muscles and soft tissue while trying to stimulate tissue repair.
Sometimes there is a slight discomfort to this protocol. If the adhesions are not mobilized, there can be loss of range of motion to the joint and your performance will be compromised.
The massage therapist is now in all aspects of the players’ programs. They are in the training room helping the players prepare for the day, assisting with rehabs, and in the weight room working on players before the lift, such as activation, recovery, restoration and building.
Having range of motion at optimal levels before a performance will increase an athlete’s in-game performance.
We know the harder athletes play, practice and train, the more their muscles, tendons, fascia—all their soft tissue—shorten, affecting the joints that the muscles support. Proper joint function is important to movement quality. High skill-orientated sports like golf, tennis and baseball rely on repetitive, quality movement patterns to compete at any level.
Power sports like football, basketball and hockey need quality movement patterns to become explosive before they jump or make contact. It is important that an athlete get their soft tissue restored back to optimal length before the next game or practice. If not, the athlete will experience a decrease in power and performance, and an increase in injury potential.
The Role of CBD Sports Massage
Soft tissue massage and manual manipulation work to restore our soft tissue, breaking down adhesions by shearing and separating the tissues from one another.
Some of these techniques include deep tissue sports or therapeutic massage, Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation, cupping, Active Release Technique and tempering. This process induces cellular trauma and inflammation to stimulate recovery.
Our body has an internal mechanism for maintaining homeostasis (balance) called the endocannabinoid system. One of the purposes of this system is to recognize when something is out of balance and signal the body for restoration and healing. This system manages inflammation with respect to cellular trauma (induced by the massage treatment protocol) to enable the deployment of white blood cells and collagen to the affected area for recovery, restoration/restructuring and healing.
While our body naturally produces its own cannabinoids, there are a number of factors that influence the endocannabinoid system and body recovery time.
External phyto-cannabinoids such as those derived from the industrial hemp plant supplement our endocannabinoid system, and both improve and accelerate the body’s ability to return to homeostasis—reducing downtime and improving performance. Documentation of hemp derived benefits go back as far as 2737 BC China, in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until 1947, with significant on-going research investment since its national legalization in 2018.
Most massage therapists will not be treating the professional athlete, but rather the weekend warrior, fitness enthusiast, runner, triathlete, cross fit enthusiast, body builder or any number of amateur athletes. These athletes can also benefit from the massage protocols described above.
All these protocols utilize a topical lubricant such as a cream, salve, emollient, lotion or oil to provide the glide needed for an effective treatment. Simply substituting a professional-grade CBD topical specifically formulated to deliver the glide, concentration of the appropriate cannabinoid profile, and penetration to the CB receptors in the area being treated complements the treatment, providing benefits to the athlete.
The addition of a broad-spectrum, THC-free CBD topical as a complement to standard protocols enhances the client’s endocannabinoid system’s response to the therapy.
For therapists treating a client on an ongoing basis, a recommendation of follow-up care by the client can enhance the effectiveness of the treatment being provided. The client can treat the affected area with a twice-daily application of a topical salve or lotion between sessions.
The client’s interim self-care will keep the therapist’s treatment top of the client’s mind while at the same time providing retail opportunities for the massage practice.
What to Look For
Some CBD companies are focusing only on professional-grade topical formulations with products and protocols specifically aligned to the treatments described in this article. Some important criteria for selecting a professional quality product include:
• Concentration of CBD (milligrams per ounce) in the product
• Product value, or price per milligram
• Type of extract (isolate, broad or full spectrum)
• Planting (seeds versus clones). Clones ensure product consistency and high concentrations provided by unfertilized female plants
• Plant pedigree/genetics
• Use of natural, organic cultivation and ingredients
• Extraction methodology (supercritical CO2, CO2 or ethanol)
• Quality Systems Certification (such as from the FDA GMP)
• Transparency and types of substance testing, from field to body
We recommend CBD topicals for sports massage protocols that range from 20 to 50 per application of broad-spectrum, THC-free hemp derived CBD extract.
For a full-body massage, look for a massage oil or cream with a 20-to-50 milligrams per ounce concentration, as a one-ounce application is the standard quantity used.
For spot treatments, a product concentration of 250 to 1,000 milligrams per ounce will generally provide the desired 20-to-50 milligrams application.
Improve & Accelerate Results
The sports massage therapist is becoming a more integral part of the athlete’s high-performance plan; a plan that incorporates daily pre- and post- workout or competitive event protocols for increasing performance, and accelerating recovery and rehabilitation, Massage therapy is part of athletes’ performance building and proactive injury avoidance.
The incorporation of professional-grade CBD topicals formulated for sports massage protocols can improve and accelerate results. For fitness enthusiasts, implementing a visit to the massage therapist as part of a complete fitness and wellness routine is just as important.
The last thing athletes, whether professional or otherwise, need is to experience a skeletomuscular injury that will set them back, either on the job or with their fitness program.
About the author
John Walsh is co-founder of CBD Healthcare Company and Sa-wan and has served in the wellness industry for 16 years. Having worked in and led high-tech manufacturing operations for 30 years, he is an expert in manufacturing processes and quality control. This expertise has yielded a high-quality CBD topical line.