Soft Tissue Therapy

A common question I receive is massage a waste of time? Naturally my answer would be No. However, the well respected internet site http://www.inrng.com has the following to say; No but it may only offer tiny performance gains says a meta analysis of sports science literature.

The effects of massage on performance recovery are rather small and partly unclear, but can be relevant under appropriate circumstances (short-term recovery after intensive mixed training). However, it remains questionable if the limited effects justify the widespread use of massage as a recovery intervention in competitive athletes.
– Sports Medicine, 2016

Anecdotally I’ve often wondered about the use of massage. It can be relaxing to lie back and chat to a soigneur and the ritual itself can be soothing for some but does rubbing muscle tissue actually achieve much? It’s one of those things that has been copied unquestionably in cycling. The study says there are tiny gains so given teams are on the hunt for help this may explain things and of course sports science literature is testing matters and venturing the results but techniques and gains could be different in cycling.

I will also refer you to the, again the respected Sport Scientist Yann Le Meur with his excellent infographic that can be found via this link.

http://ylmsportscience.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/recovery-prevention-massage-effects-on.html

You will also find many other useful infographics, including sleep, recovery, conditioning etc. it is well worth a look over a cup of coffee.

 

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Soft Tissue Therapy

  1. Nice honest summary Tim. Historically most studies have looked at the effects of sports massage on clinical and physiological outcomes. However more recent studies now suggest that the use of massage post exercise has a positive effect on a cellular level with the up regulation of growth factors important in the tissue healing process. There is a nice paper by Best et al. 2012 that supports this – ‘Stem cells, angiogenesis and muscle healing:
    a potential role in massage therapies?’

    Further research needs to be done to establish the optimal load/duration/frequency of treatments but essentially the tissue healing process one component of the recovery model.

  2. Thanks Andy, I’ll have a look at the paper, everyday is a school day

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