"How ya holdin' up, kid?"The old man in a pit-stained wife beaterwith his right cheek pressed close against his prized fighter whispers more words of encouragement as his hands knead into the fighter's shoulders and as they both stare across the ring at the powerhouse pugilist that has already done so much damage."Keep on him-you're doing great, Rocky." In this classic moment from Rocky, the cinematic fervor is at a boiling point.
The bout of bouts between the underdog, Rocky,and the Ali-esque punching prodigy, Apollo, is in full swing, with the above exchange being a brief respite from the mounting four corner action.In the world of celluloid, this breather from the gloved gala serves as a much needed mental boost for Rocky who's getting the rough end of the wallop stick.However in the world of sports massage, old Mickey , by kneading Rocky's shoulders and back during hislittle pep talk is performing an immediate and highly beneficial task-namely increasing blood flow through the muscles involved in fighting which equalsfaster removal of toxins and therefore better performance.And here, in a cinematic nutshell, is the driving principle behind the widely practiced theory of sports massage.
Sports massage has its roots in the school of tactile healing known as Swedish massage, which was developed by Dr. Per Henrik Ling during the 1820s.There are five main massage movements used in Swedish massage and which are all borrowed in the practice of sports massage: effleurage, petrissage, tapotement, friction, and vibration.Effleurage involves a stroking motion of the hands over muscle tissue, while petrissage is the motion associated with kneading.Used in conjunction these two motions promote circulation of blood through muscle tissue.Tapotement , as its name suggests, is a tapping or thumping motion of the hands across muscle tissue to warm up the tissue for deepe.