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101 Facts About Sports Massage In 2023

Written by MagMedJo

January 26, 2023

Are you wondering what the benefits of sports massage are? Do you want to learn about the history of sports massage and discover interesting facts and surprising information related to this form of treatment? If so, then this article is for you! From its origins to the latest research, this factsheet explores all aspects of sports massage, including how it can help improve physical performance and reduce fatigue. Let’s dig deeper into the history of sports massage – when did it first emerge and how has it evolved over time? What are some of the most common techniques practitioners use today, and what problems can they treat?

Today, athletes from all backgrounds rely on professional sports massages for recovery and regeneration. But what kind of effects does sports massage have on our bodies? Are there any side effects to consider or any precautions that should be taken before undergoing treatment? 

We know finding facts and figures about Sports Massage Therapy can be time-consuming and frustrating, so we put together this list of the top 101 facts, notes, and statistics so you can easily reference them and refer back to them any time in the future.  This space is constantly changing, so if you see a fact that is not up-to-date, feel free to let us know. And if you know a stat that we should add, let us know that too!

Table of Contents

1. In The 1960s, Sports Massage Was First Practiced In The Soviet Union And Other Communist Bloc Nations.

The Soviet teams were the first to bring a massage therapist along with them on their travels so that they could provide routine and ongoing treatment to their athletes.

2. Sports Massage Reached Europe And The US In The 1970s Through Sports And Cultural Interactions.

Over time, the benefits of sports massage were acknowledged, and professional, collegiate, and amateur athletes began incorporating sports massage into their training regimens.

3. The American Massage Therapy Association Recognizes Sports Massage As A Specialty.

The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) recognizes sports massage as a unique and beneficial specialty. This form of massage, which involves deep massage techniques that generate heat, can relax muscle fibers to increase range of motion, restore flexibility, and reduce the chance of injury for athletes. 

4. Sports Massage Is Performed Before Competition To Help Prevent Significant Sporting Injury.

The muscles should be warmed up, stretched, and made flexible for the best sports performance. A pre-event massage increases the circulation of blood and nutrients to the muscles, eases muscle tension, and creates a psychological state of preparation.

5. Post-Event Sports Massage Minimizes Microtrauma-Induced Swelling, Loosens Weary, Stiff Muscles, Maintains Flexibility, Improves Blood Flow To The Muscle To Remove Lactic Acid And Waste, And Prevents Cramping.

Additionally, post-event massage reduces pulls, strains, and pain for the athlete and speeds up their recovery time.

6. Maintenance Massage Improves Muscular Circulation.

Maintenance sports massage is a weekly aspect of athletic training, but professional athletes with their own massage therapists may have it everyday. Maintenance sports massage increases flexibility and reduces scar tissue.

7. Maximizing Athletic Performance Is The Aim Of All Sports Massage Treatments.

Sports massage treatments have become incredibly popular in recent years as athletes at all levels buy into the concept that these specialized rub-downs can help to enhance performance. 

8. Massage Can Help With Muscle Pain And Stiffness, Muscle Strain Edema (Swelling), Muscle Soreness, Muscle Sprains, Muscle Tension, Sore Spots, Repetitive Strain Injuries, Tendinitis, And More.

Even while massage might be helpful for many problems, it must never take the place of receiving expert medical care.

9. Effleurage Is A Gentle Technique Of Massaging That Can Be Done With Either The Palms Of The Hands Or The Thumbs.

Muscle and outcome determine pressure and speed. Effleurage boosts muscular blood flow. Two-handed petrissage compresses and lifts the muscle. This relaxes stiff muscles.

10. The Tiny Fingers Are Frequently Used To Provide Hits Or Strikes To The Muscles During A Percussion Stroke.

They help tonify the muscles. During cupping, the hands are cupped to percussion or strike the muscles. It induces muscle spasms that assist tone the muscles and stimulates the skin.

11. Sports Massage Therapists Combine Techniques To Get The Best Results.

It is the goal of sports massage therapists to bring out the best in athletes and their bodies via the use of various techniques. Combining several techniques, such as Swedish massage and trigger point therapy, they create a unique treatment that targets all problem areas.

12. Sessions For Sports Massages Often Last 30 To 60 Minutes.

Sports massages can improve performance and recuperation. Athletes from distance running to weight training use massage therapists to relieve painful muscles and prepare for competition. These unique massages last 30-60 minutes yet have long-term advantages.

13. An Athlete Receives A Pre-Event Massage Just Before Competing.

Mostly brisk effleurage and petrissage to warm and relax muscles. Effleurage is calming but exciting when done quickly. The massage therapist utilizes percussive strokes and cupping to constrict and flex muscles, increasing pressure. Sport-specific massages target leg and back muscles.

14. Post-Event Massages Are Provided 1-2 Hours After The Competition.

Post-event massage is gentle to avoid further stressing muscles. To decrease edema and expedite toxic waste clearance. Light effleurage and petrissage reduce edema and relax tight muscles. Legs can be self-massaged after an event.

15. At Least Once A Week, Athletes Receive Maintenance Massage.

Regular massage maintenance is necessary for athletes of all ability levels. It aids in the relaxation of fatigued muscles and increases their flexibility, hence enhancing their performance in their chosen sport or fitness activity.

16. Massage May Aid Sports Injuries, Particularly Muscle Strains.

But before administering any massage when treating an injury, it is best to see a certified sports therapist or a sports medicine expert. Massage may exacerbate some ligament and joint ailments that need for immobilization and professional care.

17. Massage For Athletes Is Secure And Efficient.

There are no unintended effects when the medication is administered appropriately.

18. US And European Research Have Proven That Massage Improves Muscular Blood Flow And Athletic Performance.

After a tough workout, massage can assist, and now there’s scientific proof! Regular massage improves muscular blood circulation and athletic performance, according to US and European studies. Professional athletes, triathletes, and cross fitters benefit from massage after tough exercises.

19. The Term ‘Sports Massage’ Is Linked In Many People’s Minds With A Very Deep, Intense Type Of Therapy.

20. The “Flying Finn” Paavo Nurmi Was The First To Use Massage To Promote Athlete Performance And Wellness.

At the Olympic Games in 1924, Nurmi won no fewer than five gold medals on a single day. In addition, he attributed his accomplishments to his regular massage therapist.

21. Dr. Sarkisov-Sirasini, A Russian Physician, Studied Sports Massage.

In 1925, he established the Moscow Institute of Physical Culture’s Clinic of Remedial Exercises and Massage. Effleurage, percussion, and friction were only a few of the many skills he taught.

22. According To One Study, Sports Massage Can Reduce Doms And Edema By Roughly 30%.

Sports massage has been shown to lessen delayed onset muscular soreness (DOMS). You’ve probably experienced DOMS if you’ve ever found it difficult to raise the kettle for a day or two after a strenuous weightlifting session.

23. Massage Increases Circulation, Flexibility, And Can Warm Up Your Muscles.

That improves your chances of completing the competition without sustaining any injuries to yourself.

24. Long-Term Sitting Harms Posture.

Muscles will tighten and lengthen proportionally to how the body is used. Massage combined with strengthening exercise can assist restore equilibrium if you’re trying to get back on track.

25. Sports Massage Is Not Only For Athletes.

Sports massage is one of the most flexible and beneficial types of massage available. Its benefits are not exclusive to athletes; leisure joggers and weekend warriors alike can reap its rewards. Through a combination of deep tissue manipulation, stretching, and mobilizing methods, sports massage can facilitate relaxation and restore the body’s equilibrium.

26. Sports Massage Shouldn’t Be Painful.

Pain causes individuals to become tense. A muscle that is tense will not respond as effectively to the procedures as one that is relaxed. A trained therapist will gauge how much pressure to use based on how your tissue feels under their touch.

27. Sports Massage Is Beneficial For The Mind.

Your therapist’s treatment impacts both your mind and body. This is due to the fact that it alters the amounts of hormones and neurotransmitters in your system. Massage reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol. The neurotransmitter and hormone serotonin increases. It is known as the ‘happy hormone’ as it can enhance mood and sleep.

28. Sports Massage Is Targeted And Systematic, Focusing On The Muscles Engaged In A Certain Sport.

Sports massage is ideal for relieving muscle soreness and tension from vigorous exercise. It prevents injuries and speeds healing, making it a crucial part of every athlete’s health regimen.

29. A Sports Massage Therapist Can Help With Pre- And Post-Performance Goals, Training, And Rehabilitation.

Athletes who wish to maximize their performance and speed up their recovery may find sports massage treatment to be a useful asset.

30. Sports Massage Increases Joint Range Of Motion (ROM).

31. Sports Massage Increased Flexibility.

Working out is hard and improving flexibility seems impossible. However, a sports massage can help you reap the full benefits of flexible muscles. Sports massages target deep tissues to remove toxins and allow muscles to stretch more.

32. Sports Massage Decreased Muscle Tension. 

One of the greatest benefits of sports massage is its ability to help the body relax and reduce muscle tension.

33. Sports Massage Decreased Neurological Excitability (Nerves Were More Relaxed).

A recent study discovered that sports massage not only enhanced the mental calm and mood states of the individuals, but it also decreased their neuronal excitability. This indicates that their nerves were calmer following the massage!

34. Muscle Spasms Were Reduced By Sports Massage.

Sports massage was the ideal treatment for muscle spasms. Whether it was a long day at the office or an intense workout at the gym, this form of massage relieved the soreness and stiffness caused by muscular spasms.

35. Sports Massage Increased Their Sense Of Well-Being.

Sports are a terrific way to stay healthy and fit, but they also have additional benefits. People are getting sports massages more often now that they know how important they are. Sports massage can prepare athletes for forthcoming events and alleviate muscle fatigue after rigorous events. However, regular sports massages improve well-being.

36. Sports Massage Reduced Anxiety And Elevated Mood.

Massage for sports can have some unforeseen mental benefits! Studies have shown that a single sports massage session can reduce anxiety and improve mood. In addition to making the body feel good, sports massage also calms the mind and spirit.

37. Sports Massage Enhances Sleep Habits.

Sleep is necessary for health and relaxation, two of the most significant components that contribute to an outstanding athletic performance. Fortunately, sports massage can aid in maintaining and improving these vital sleep patterns.

38. Blood Flow Was Increased By Sports Massage. 

Athletes can benefit from sports massage during and after a competition as well as while training. Studies have shown that receiving a massage immediately following a session greatly boosted blood flow. Through more effective removal of waste items and distribution of nutrients throughout the body, better circulation enables muscles to unwind, repair, and recover more quickly.

39. Sports Massage Increased The Elimination Of Exercise Waste Products (Lactic Acid).

40. Sports Massage Reduced The Likelihood Of Injury. 

Sports massage has become a popular and efficient method for athletes of all skill levels to avoid injuries and decrease recovery time. By relaxing tense muscles, expanding range of motion, and administering deep tissue therapy, sports massages can improve athletic performance in general. A frequent sports massage is a highly effective method for lowering the risk of common muscular injuries, such as strains, tears, and other ailments that might develop throughout an athlete’s career.

41. Sports Massage Reduced The Amount Of Time Needed To Recover Between Workouts.

42. Tenderness Or Stiffness For One To Two Days Following A Therapy Session Are Possible Side Effects Of Sports Massage.

After a sports massage session, it’s not uncommon for athletes to experience some soreness or stiffness in their muscles for the next day or two. This is totally normal and should be expected, and is simply a sign that the muscles have undergone some healing and were worked during their massage session.

43. Massage Oils May Cause Skin Reactions.

Theoretically, massage oils can trigger skin responses in humans. Our skin is, after all, the greatest organ in our bodies and is very sensitive to numerous sorts of cosmetics. If a person has serious allergies or other health conditions, oil massage may cause a reaction. Redness, rash, itching, hives, and other unpleasant sensations are possible reactions.

44. Many Athletes Place A Great Emphasis On Sports Massage.

Athletes must devote hours to hard training and adhere to a precise diet to maintain optimum performance; nonetheless, many great athletes recognize that taking care of their bodies is equally as vital as training. Many athletes emphasize frequent sports massage sessions so that they can continue to perform at their peak.

45. Massage Therapy Aims To Improve Muscle And Joint Function.

46. Massage Can Improve Physical And General Health.

Massage is a great mind-body therapy. It uses many techniques to relax and mend muscles and soft tissues. Massage enhances physical and mental wellness. Regular massages may reduce stress, improve sleep, boost the immune system, and relieve head-to-toe pain! It boosts energy by improving circulation and oxygenation.

47. Swedish Massage Focuses On Using Long, Fluid Strokes.

When using these strokes, deep circular movements, vibrating, and tapping are done on the muscles in order to knead and compress them.

48. Massage Reduces Injury Risk, Improves Flexibility, And Boosts Circulation, But It’s Not A One-Size-Fits-All Method.

49. Sports Massages Address The Biomechanical And Physical Demands Of Athletes In Running, Football, Basketball, And Other Sports.

Athletes are increasingly using sports massages to maintain optimal health and performance in sports such as running, football, and basketball. They address the unique biomechanical requirements of active athletes by providing targeted support to parts of the body that require it. In addition, they improve physical performance by assisting athletes to relax achy muscles while simultaneously enhancing circulation and joint flexibility.

50. A Spa Massage Is Not A Sports Massage.

There are spa massages for relaxation and sports massages for recovery. A sports massage is not equivalent to a spa massage. Do not expect flowers, candles, or a pillow smelling with lavender. A sports massage is intended to release the muscles and connective tissue, but it is also intended to speed up the body’s healing process.

51. Sport Massage Helps Break Down Scar Tissue.

A sports massage can assist in removing scar tissue that has built up over time for people who have previously sustained injuries. Flexibility and muscle function both increase as a result.

52. You Can Manage Hormonal Changes With The Aid Of Sports Massage.

Sports massages can help women manage hormonal shifts. Female athletes experience greater hormonal shifts than most women. Sports massage can help your body adapt to these changes, relax your mind, and release serotonin. Relaxation improves sleep, which boosts mood.

53. Sport Massage Helps Prevent Muscle Soreness.

A sports massage can assist in removing scar tissue that has built up over time for people who have previously sustained injuries. Flexibility and muscle function both increase as a result.

54. Sport Massage Helps Remove Toxins From The Body.

Most individuals aren’t aware that sports massages drain the lymphatic system, eliminating toxins. Massage stimulates the lymph system to eliminate toxins that build up around joints. Stimulating the lymph system during massage speeds up toxin removal. This speeds recovery and prevents lymphedema or edema.

55. Get A Sports Massage 72 Hours Before A Big Game Or Marathon.

A conventional massage within 48 hours after the big day is fine, but a sports massage is meant to restore the body and may leave you sore. Schedule a sports massage carefully. You should cancel your appointment a few weeks before a marathon or crucial game.

56. Another Good Idea Is To Have A Sports Massage After The Game Or Race.

This assists in calming the nervous system, which in turn promotes speedier healing.

57. Sports Massage Beginners May Be Sore For 48 Hours.

If you are unfamiliar with sports massage, you should be aware that you may experience discomfort afterward. While the massage itself should be pleasurable and even therapeutic, it is usual for beginners to be in pain for approximately 48 hours thereafter. It is also crucial to remain active after receiving a massage by stretching and engaging in modest exercise to alleviate some of the discomfort.

58. As Your Body Removes Toxins And Heals, You May Feel Thirsty Or Weak If You Are New To Sports Massage.

59. Some People Prefer 30-Minute Sports Massages More Often Than One-Hour Ones.

Sports massage preferences vary. Some prefer a 30-minute massage more regularly than an hour-long one. Short sessions allow you to stay in peak shape for your favorite hobbies and maintain your body functioning at its best. Shorter massages are good for relaxing or relieving tension.

60. Massage Therapy Is A Multi-Billion-Dollar Industry Worldwide.

61. Sporting Massage Was Created To Help Athletes Endure Intense Training And Demanding Sports Competitions.

Sporting massage is the practice of using massage techniques designed specifically for athletes to boost performance and aid recovery. To give an athlete a mental and physical edge, it reduces fatigue and muscle damage caused by intense training, while improving alignment, reducing injury risk and improving overall athleticism.

62. Sports Massage Differs From Relaxation Massage.

Clinical and non-clinical massages exist. Sports massage is clinical, while relaxation massage relieves tension and promotes wellness. Clinical massage is a specialized medical treatment for individuals with specific needs. Doctors recommend clinical massages for pain, injury, and sickness.

63. Sports Massage Demands Specialized Knowledge And Proficiency With A Variety Of Modalities.

64. Sports Massage Improves Athletic Performance And Aids Recovery From Injury.

65. In 1924, Sports Massage Was First Introduced To The Olympics.

In 1924, sports massage was officially added to the Olympic Games for the first time. The world watched as athletes used therapeutic massage techniques to improve their performance and prepare for competition. 

66. At The 1996 Olympic Games In Atlanta, Sports Massage Was Officially Recognized As A Vital Medical Service.

67. Sports Massage Is An Individualized Approach.

Sports massage is a great way for athletes to keep their bodies in top physical condition. The benefits of this individualized approach go beyond just relieving stiff muscles or improving range of motion.

68. Sports Massage Not Only Provides Alleviation But Also Considers The Entire Problem.

Sports massage reduces athlete injury and pain. It treats aching muscles quickly and holistically. A sports massage therapist can help athletes avoid injuries, cut down on therapy, and improve their performance. This holistic approach to problem-solving and pain management can help athletes reach optimum performance.

69. Whether You Are A Professional Athlete Or Merely Participate In The Sport On The Weekends, Sports Massage Can Help You.

Sports massage is quickly becoming a popular option for athletes at all levels of experience. Whether you’re an expert athlete or just enjoy playing for recreational purposes, tapping into the power of sports massage can help you improve your performance – both on and off the field.

70. Sports Massage Is A Type Of Bodywork Designed Specifically For Athletes.

It is used to aid in injury prevention, prepare the body for athletic activity and maintain peak condition, and assist athletes in recovering from workouts and injuries.

71. Sports Massage Is A Systematic Manipulation Of Soft Tissues That Targets Sports-Related Muscles.

72. Jack Meagher Is Said To Be The United States’ Founder Of Sports Massage.

Jack Meagher, the “father of American sport massage,” served as a physician in the United States army during World War II. A German POW introduced him to sports massage techniques for the first time.

73. In The 1960s, Sports Massage Originated In The Soviet Union And Communist Bloc Nations.

Soviet teams were the first to travel with a massage therapist who regularly and consistently treated their athletes.

74. Pre-Event, Post-Event, And Maintenance Massage Are The Three Types Of Sports Massage.

75. Pre-Event Sports Massage Aids In The Prevention Of Severe Athletic Injuries.

A pre-event massage improves the circulation of blood and nutrients to the muscles, lowers muscle tension, relaxes the muscles, and induces a state of mental preparation.

76. Maintenance Massage Keeps Muscles Flexible And Promotes Blood And Nutrient Flow.

As a standard aspect of athletic training, maintenance sports massage is performed at least once per week; however, professional athletes with their own massage therapists may receive maintenance massage everyday.

77. Petrissage Is A Sort Of Two-Handed Kneading In Which The Muscle Is Grasped And Compressed With Both Hands.

This method relaxes bunches of tight muscles.

78. Cupping Includes Using Cupped Hands To Percuss Or Strike The Muscles.

It stimulates the skin and induces muscle spasms, which aid in muscle toning.

79. Sports Massage Therapists Must First Complete A General Massage Course.

Sports massage therapists must first complete a general massage course from an AMTA/COMTA-accredited institution or their state board of education.

80. Sports Massage Reduced Tiredness And Improved Recovery, According To Research.

Additionally, patients reported less anxiety, an improvement in mood, higher emotions of well-being, and improved sleep quality.

81. The Pituitary Gland Releases Endorphins (‘Happy’ And ‘Pain-Killing’ Hormones) During A Sports Massage.

A sports massage is the perfect way to really get your muscles relaxed after a tough workout. Not only is it great for your body, but the pituitary gland releases endorphins during a sports massage too! These ‘happy’ and ‘pain-killing’ hormones can help ease any tension being held in your body and completely revitalize your muscles – it’s like an extra burst of energy!

82. 28% Of Sports Injuries Impact The Knee And Lower Leg, 15% Elbow And Forearms, And 14% Wrist And Hands, According To 2014 Australian Institute Of Health And Welfare Data.

83. According To 2014 Aihw Data, Sports Injuries Included 49% Fractures, 23% Soft Tissue, And 7% Dislocation.

84. Massage Therapists Were Almost Half Self-Employed In 2018.

Massage therapists have always had more freedom than most other professionals. This is especially true in recent years, as over half of all massage therapists were registered as self-employed in 2018!

85. Sports Massage Therapists Work In Hospitals, Chiropractic Offices, And Private Companies.

Unlike general massage practices, these specialists work in hospitals, chiropractic offices and private companies to give people access to customized care that caters to their needs.

86. In The United States, The Average Age Of A Massage Therapist Is 40.9 Years.

87. In General, Sports Massage Training Programs Consist Of At Least 700 Hours Of Classroom Instruction And Clinical Practice.

Sports massage training is no joke – it takes serious dedication to complete as these programs typically add up to a minimum of 700 hours!

88. Training In Sports Massage Costs Between $10,000 And $15,000.

The cost of training to become a sports massage therapist can range anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.

89. Sports Massage May Consist Of A Single Session Or Multiple Sessions, But Should Always Be Goal-Oriented.

90. In Contrast To Other Types Of Massage, Sports Massage Incorporates Myofascial Techniques.

This is a technique used to locate pain in the body, specifically where pain may be radiating from a specific spot within the damaged muscle.

91. In Order For A Sports Massage To Be Effective, Massage Therapists Must Have Extensive Knowledge Of The Anatomy Of The Human Body.

92. The Term “Massage” Is Derived From A Greek Phrase That Means “To Knead Dough With Your Hands.”

Massage most likely originated in Ancient Greece around 800 B.C. Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, prescribed friction and the benefits of rubbing the body to alleviate physical problems in the fifth century BCE.

93. The Finnish School Of Massage Discreetly Perfected Swedish Sports Massage Therapy In The Early 20th Century.

In the early 20th century, the Finnish School of Massage quietly refined Swedish sports massage therapy to create a therapeutic technique that allowed the body to recover quickly and age gracefully. Drawing upon years of experience and expertise in this field, the school developed highly effective ways to invigorate areas of musculoskeletal tension while deeply relaxing the spirit.

94. In 1985, The American Massage Therapy Association Founded The National Sports Massage Team.

This team will massage Boston Marathon participants. And despite the fact that this team does not currently exist, sports massage is still regarded as a specialized form of massage treatment.

95. A Triathlete Should Get One Massage Per Week Or At Least One Per Month.

This may sound extreme, especially if spa visits are more of a luxury for you. However, massages are quite effective at preventing injury.

96. In 2012, The Median Annual Compensation For Licensed Massage Therapists Was $40,400, According To The Bureau Of Labor Statistics.

Salaries increased depending on the organization funded and the location of employment. 

97. As Of 2014, The Field Of Sports Massage Therapy Offered Numerous Benefits, Including An Above-Average Median Salary Of $82,000.

98. Sports Massages Can Be Full-Body Or Focused On Problem Areas.

Sports massages can be incredibly effective no matter what kind you choose. Whether you are looking for a full-body massage or a customized plan to target your problem areas, you’ll find that sports massages can go a long way in relieving soreness and tension.

99. The Royal Gymnastic Swedish Institute In Stockholm, Sweden, Was The First To Teach Massage In 1813.

In 1813, history was made when the Royal Gymnastic Swedish Institute in Stockholm became the first to teach massage. Since then, this traditional form of healing has been used worldwide to alleviate muscle tightness and pain.

100. The Largest Massage Franchise In The United States Is Massage Envy.

As of 2022, the Massage Envy franchise network has more than 1,100 independently owned and run franchise sites, making it the largest provider of therapeutic massages and skin care in the United States. Massage Envy was founded in 2002, and franchising began in 2003.

101. According To Massage Facts, Zeel Is The Leading On-Demand Massage Provider In The United States.

Zeel revolutionized the massage industry by being the first company to provide consumers same-day in-home treatments. Zeel has locations in over 65 cities across the United States and employs over 6,000 registered massage therapists.

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