With many conflicting scientific studies out there, I’m sure many of you are at a loss as to what to believe.
So- does it, or doesn’t it work?
Yes- but it is dependent upon many factors: the type, the frequency; the quality of massage; and what you actually want to achieve from the massage. Will a sports massage knock 3minutes of your PB? Probably not. But neither will a single set of 800m reps!
In most cases, sports massage has a cumulative effect, one treatment may have a short-term benefit, but correcting long-term problems takes longer , which explains some of the negative research. A study published in the journal of Physical Therapy in Sport found no beneficial effects on hamstring length, but subjects were given just a single eight-minute treatment.
There are difficulties studying the efficacy of sports massage. Every treatment is individualised to that particular individual at that particular time. Thus, it’s very difficult to approach a study with a scientific repeatability method, or like for like, as it were. However, there was one study which studied sports massage treatments on a more prolonged basis: published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, which used a more ‘real life’ scenario of three massages a week for 10 weeks on one leg of study subjects and no treatment on the other leg, found that massaged legs gained four degrees of flexibility and 13 per cent strength.
There’s more backing from the boffins, too: research in the Journal of Athletic Training noted a 30 per cent reduction in post-exercise muscle soreness; more in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine found improved recovery; and satisfied run-and-rub testers in the British Journal of Sports Medicine enjoyed decreased fatigue. Although these are anecdotal findings, they are findings which keep elite athletes coming back for more. And what works for them, surely works for the everyday athlete, working out after a stressful day at work!
Lyndsey offers sports massage treatments for all you athletes and workers out there. The studio is within easy reach of fleet, Farnborough, Aldershot, church crookham and Odiham.