Reasons a Massage Therapist Recommends Sports Massage For Athletes

Last updated on November 9th, 2020 at 04:33 pm

Health writer Kiera Ellis talks about the benefits of sports massage for athletes.

Reasons a Massage Therapist Recommends Sports Massage For Athletes

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Massage therapy is one of the best ways to promote relaxation and relieve pain that stems from injuries, illnesses, and inactivity. It helps people of all ages to stay fit. Massage therapy comes in many flavors including sports massage, Swedish, & deep tissue. According to Figurelli Integrated Wellness Center, “Massage Therapy has many positive effects on the body such as relaxation, stress relief, improved circulation, improved mobility, decreased body aches, improved posture, and much more!”

There are many different types of massage therapy, but the most common among them are deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, hot stone massage, and trigger point massage.

Apart from these, sports massage is also a popular form of massage. Designed specifically for athletes, sports massage is a great way to enhance fitness and improve athletic performance.

water sprays from under running shoes

When compared to other forms of massage, physical therapists believe that sports massage offers many benefits to athletes. They think that it helps them prepare for competition, enhances their athletic performance, and also makes it easier for them to recover from injuries.

Physical therapists who specialize in sports medicine often utilize massage techniques to aid an athlete’s recovery from intense exercise or as a treatment option when performing clinical rehabilitation.

US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: The Role of Massage in Sports Performance and Rehabilitation: Current Evidence and Future Direction

What Massage Therapy Techniques are Right For You?

These are some of the types of movements a massage therapist or physical therapist uses while giving sports massage to athletes:


Petrissage strokes are deep massage movements which help in compressing muscles.  Common petrissage strokes include skin rolling, kneading, and wringing, and a massage therapist or physical therapist uses their fingers, thumb, or the entire hand to perform these movements.

Petrissage strokes offer relaxation to athletes apart from stimulating muscles. They are also crucial for speeding up the elimination of metabolic waste, and for enhancing circulation.


Effleurage is a series of circular massage strokes that help in warming the tissues, stretching muscles, and improving circulation. Apart from that effleurage also helps in easing pain and promoting relaxation.


It is a massage technique that involves both linear and circular massage strokes. Friction creates an inflammatory response, which helps in isolating adhered tissues.

Apart from that tapotement and vibration are also common massage techniques that physical therapists use while giving sports massage to athletes.

Legs Sports Massage Therapy

Benefits of Sports Massage for Athletes

Here are a few of the benefits associated with sports massage:

Reducing Pain

Athletes work hard all the time to keep themselves fit, but still, sports injuries are common among athletes across the world.

Sports injuries such as shin splints, tennis elbow, hamstring strains, ankle sprains, and knee injury, etc., not only keep the athletes from participating in competitions but they also lead to a lot of pain and discomfort.

However, seeking sports massage at a reputed physical therapy clinic can help relieve the pain that stems from sports injuries. Your therapist will use the right massage technique to address your problem.

Increasing Range of Motion

Sports injuries and joint inflammation can affect your range of motion, making your joints feel tight and stiff. However, seeking sports massage at regular intervals will not only increase your range of motion but will also strengthen your muscles and joints, and will reduce the risk of future injuries.

Enhancing Flexibility

Developing strength and flexibility is crucial for athletes to improve their posture, withstand physical stress, and reduce the risk of injuries. So, apart from performing stretching exercises, they should also seek sports massage. Your therapist will use the right techniques to increase your flexibility and build strength.

Reducing Stress

The stress level of athletes increases a lot while preparing for competition. They work hard day and night to give one hundred percent, which makes them stressed out.

Sports massage can reduce their stress level to a great extent because it helps in reducing the level of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body.

Promoting Relaxation

Since athletes perform intense physical activities which put a lot of stress on their body, it’s beneficial for them to feel relaxed by seeking sports massage. Sports massage will relieve their stress and ease muscle tension, thereby making them feel good.

Improving Sleep

A good night’s sleep is also vital for athletes, but constant training and practice make their body tired and painful, affecting its ability to fall asleep.

Sleep helps the body heal from injuries and illnesses and makes it easier for people to wake up feeling fresh in the morning. So, if you are an athlete, and you are unable to fall asleep, you can try sports massage to fix your problem.

Final Thoughts

Since massage therapy helps in reducing the pain, increasing flexibility and range of motion, relieving stress, strengthening muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints, it eventually plays a vital role in enhancing your athletic performance.

In other words, seeking sports massage will not only make you feel more energetic, happy, and enthusiastic but you will also see a world of difference in your performance. You will start performing way better than before.

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