Ask the Osteopath: Benefits of Sports Massage

Sports massage

Most people have heard of sports massages or may have even experienced one but what really is it? Well, while I am primarily a osteopath I do have a Level 3 qualification in Sports Massage and have been treating patients for numerous years.

Here’s my guide to what it is and how it could benefit you:

What is Sports Massage?

Sports massage therapy is the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of soft tissues within the body specifically the muscles, ligaments and tendons.

Sports massage therapy is suitable not just for athletes and sporting professionals, but for a wide variety of people who are wishing to prevent or recover from a soft tissue injury. The aim of a sports massage is to alleviate tension in your musculoskeletal system.

A sports massage can not only help treat your current strains and tension but be used as a method of preventing future injuries. These include overuse or repetitive strain injuries whether they are from your daily activities or from your training regime.

What are the benefits of Sports Massage?

* Reduced muscle pain and strains
* Restoring musclular imblances
* Reducing muscle tone
* Remodel scar tissue
* Reducing swelling

* Improve circulation and lymphatic function
* Increasing oxygen uptake in the muscle
* Assisting in the removal of metabolic bi-products
* Increased range of movement and flexibility
* Elevating fatigue
* Preventing injury

What can I expect from a Sports Massage?

While not all practitioners will work in the same way, different practitioners will have different backgrounds and interest and therefore will all be slightly different. Despite this here is the basic structure and the structure that I take when I have a sports massage client.

Detailed Medical History:

When I have a patient I am fully committed to making their treatment as personalised as possible. Unlike some medical practitioners I have the luxury of a bit more time with the patient and therefore I would take a detailed case history including your daily activities, training regime and goals. Everyone is different and it’s important to get a good picture of what the patient wants so that I can give the best treatment to get them to their goal.

Physical Examination:

As a musculoskeletal expert I would work to exam the movement at the joints as well as the muscles especially the tone of the muscle. The practitioner should also work to indenitify any imbalances or tensions that may have predisposed you to your symptoms.

Tailored treatment:

Whatever your goals or training plan is I would try to support you every step of the way to help you achieve your goals by preventing any stresses or strain you may potential pick up on the way. Most sport therapists will work to manipulate your muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments. Some of the techniques may be ‘active’ which would involve you taking part in the technique often contracting your muscle against the practitioner. For example trying to straighten your leg while the practitioner tries to resist you, this can be used to make a stretch or technique stronger.

Personalised Rehabilitation Plan:

Whether you want to boost your performance or recover from a overtrain injury, its important to have a rehabilitation action plan specifically for you. There are many ways to for example stretch your hamstring muscles some will be better and some won’t but that will depend on previous injuries, your pain now and your biomechanics, how your body normally works. I will normally get the patient to run through the exercise with me in the treatment session and then I can adapt the exercise from there. It can also be adapted depending on your lifestyle are you going to be sitting at work or on a long drive? This things may seem silly but there are important of your going to stick to the rehab. Patients wanting to increase their sporting achievements on whatever level often will need to adapt their existing training program to achieve new goals. You will normally be given some kind of advice for your specific sports and personal needs I normally do this by focusing on improving your technique, strength, speed, stamina and recovery.

You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.


Weerapong, Hume, Kolt (2005) The mechanism of Massage and effects on performance, muscle recovery and injury prevention. Journal of Sports Medicine. 35 (3): 235-256

Brummitt, J. (2008). The Role of Massage in Sports Performance and Rehabilitation: Current Evidence and Future Direction. North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy : NAJSPT3(1), 7–21.

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10 Comment

  1. I’ve learn some just right stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting.
    I surprise how much effort you put to make this type of great informative web site.

    1. Zoe McParlin M.Ost says: Reply

      Thanks Jacquie I am glad you have enjoyed the blog and it has been informative.

  2. This article gives some pretty good ideas on why a sports massage is beneficial. I like how it can reduce muscle pain, and remodel scar tissue, among other things. I’m thinking of getting one, and I need to look up more too.

    1. Zoe McParlin M.Ost says: Reply

      Hi Luke, I am glad you have found the article informative. I will update the article and attach some references and papers for you to look up.

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  4. Very interesting article thank you.Finding the perfect plan for the sport would, I imagine be the hard part.

    1. Zoe McParlin M.Ost says: Reply

      Finding the perfect plan I find is the fun part, you need to know what works for you. Tailoring my patients treatment for their sport can getting the best recovery for them is so important the more your know about them the easier it is. It does help if you know about details of their sessions and then you tailor their biomechanics and the muscles they are using the most to them.

  5. […] Sports massage is specially designed for anyone – not just athletes – wanting to recover from, prevent, or reduce the risk of soft tissue injury. It’s focused on managing, manipulating, and rehabilitating soft tissues such as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons within the body, with the goal of reducing or minimising tension in your musculoskeletal system. It’s also concerned with  treating current strains and tension, as well as preventing future injuries, including repetitive strain injuries. […]

  6. I just love the info you’ve share about sports massage

  7. […] Sports massage can support healing from muscle pains and strains, along with restoring muscular imbalances. Having regular sports massage performed can help remodel scar tissue, promoting efficient scar formation after serious trauma or injury, andcan also help break down scar tissue and adhesions. If you have swelling due to strain or injury, sports massage can also help with reducing this. For athletes prone to muscle spasms and nerve irritation due to injury, sports massagecan also be helpful. […]

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