Sports massage is very common in high performance sports and at the amateur level, generating a multi-million-dollar industry of professional therapists and massage devices.
A new systematic review and meta-analysis of 29 eligible studies, (recruiting 1012 participants), investigated the effects of massage on measures of sporting performance and recovery.
This study found:
- Massage induces no significant improvement in measures of performance (sprint, jump, strength, endurance or flexibility, or in fatigue).
- Massage provides a small benefit in reducing or preventing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
- Massage induces a small but significant improvement in flexibility compared with no intervention.
Although the resent study didn’t find any evidence that sports massage improves performance directly, it may somewhat improve flexibility and DOMS. These findings help guide the coach and athlete about the benefits of massage and inform decisions about incorporating this into training and competition.
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