Sports Massage: Using Massage Therapy to Improve Range of Motion

An exciting finding recently published in the academic Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows that short, targeted massage therapy sessions can increase an individual’s range of motion. While more research needs to be done to examine whether different types of massage therapy can work similarly on different muscle groups, the implications of the study are clear: Sports massage therapy can help increase an athlete’s range of motion.

Unfortunately, full text of the study will not be available to most electronic libraries for several months, but a lot of information can be gleaned from the abstract (linked above). The authors write that they provided their test group with either a 10-second or a 30-second massage that focused on areas where muscle and tendon connect. Some participants were part of a control group, receiving no massage, in order to examine the impact of the short 10-second and 30-second massages.

The impact was notable, especially considering the short duration of the massage provided. On average, the participants’ range of motion in their hips increased by 7.2 percent after receiving a 30-second massage, 5.9 percent after receiving a 10-second massage.

Again, the implications of the study’s findings for athletes are noteworthy. I’m sure coaches and athletes all wish they could increase the range of their movements and stride on the field, and focused sports massage therapy can help do this. As with a lot of other studies featured in this Blog demonstrating massage therapy’s abilities as a Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapy, more study needs to be done to infer larger implications.

But more study should lead to more results demonstrating sports massage therapy’s effectiveness in improving the capabilities of athletes.

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