How much sports massage affects performance and recovery

Athletes and coaches often believe that sports massage improves performance. Massage is ubiquitous in elite sport and increasingly common at the amateur level.

Studies have been looking in evidence of improvement in performance measures (strength, jump, sprint, or endurance), even though some studies might have been expected to be affected by placebo effects.

They have found no evidence that massage improves measures of strength, jump, sprint, endurance, or fatigue, but the massage was associated with small improvements in flexibility and DOMS.

There were also two studies that suggested massage may have a detrimental effect on performance.

Hope this will help to guide the personal trainers, coaches, and athletes about the benefits of massage and inform decisions about incorporating this into personal training and competition.

Davis HL, Alabed S, Chico TJA. 2020