Is Sports Massage Just for Athletes?

Is sports massage just for athletes?
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Is Sports Massage Just for Athletes?

It’s understandable to think of sports massage as being reserved for elite athletes, sporting professionals or serious amateurs. When you think of a sports massage therapist, you may think of them standing at the side-line of a rugby or football match, or at the finish line of the London Marathon, or perhaps behind the scenes at the Olympics and Paralympics. Waiting to assist with the recovery and increase the performance of their sporting clients. But can sports massage benefit everyone else, too?


What is Sports Massage?

While each treatment will be individual to the recipient, the basic aims of sports massage therapy is to improve range of motion, increase tissue flexibility and muscle relaxation, relieve trigger points, and reduce adhesions and pain.

Sports massage is a popular tool both pre- and post-exercise for performance improvement and recovery, and can assist as part of the rehabilitation after injuries. But the goal is not to wait until an injury happens or chronic pain sets in before paying attention to our bodies. In the same way that we can keep a car running smoothly by regularly servicing it and checking its oil level and tyre pressure, regular sports massage treatments can help maintain muscle health by identifying areas of tension and addressing them before an injury occurs.

Similar to having a healthy sleep routine and maintaining a varied, nutrient-rich diet, massage can be seen as a health-supporting practice that allows our bodies to better withstand the demands of physical activity. Sports massage’s ability to reduce feelings of muscle soreness can leave us feeling eager and better able to exercise at our desired level.


Can Sports Massage Benefit Non-Athletes?

Despite sports massage therapy usually going hand-in-hand with intense exercise and athletic performance, you do not need to be a sportsperson to benefit from this form of massage. If you do any form of exercise – whether that’s going jogging, attending the gym or exercise classes, or playing sports casually with friends or the children – you may be surprised at the benefits you can feel from receiving sports massages.

All forms of exercise come with some level of risk and the potential for injury. Not only can sports massage keep your muscles supple, it can also give you awareness of where you may be holding tension or have imbalances that could lead to poor training or injury. In this sense, you may find that regular sports massages can help you better achieve your own training or exercise goals.

But sports massage therapy is not specific to sporting activities. It can also offer benefits to those with a more sedentary lifestyle. If your work involves many hours of sitting or driving or performing repetitive tasks – such as typing, lifting or factory/production work – it’s likely you will feel muscle aches, pain, stiffness and tension at some point, whether that’s occasionally or chronically. Everyday movements can put stresses and strains on our bodies, which can lead to pain. Ideally, our bodies should be fit and strong enough to withstand a wide range of daily movements without causing us any trouble. But that’s not always the case, especially if the demands of our work and schedules result in an increasingly sedentary state. There is no shame in having to spend eight hours sitting at a desk but, in this case, it can help to see yourself as an ‘office athlete’; you need to give yourself the necessary care in order to feel fit and healthy within your body and perform well at your job.

If you suffer from pain and tension in your neck, shoulders, back or joints, or suffer from tension headaches or cramp, you may find relief by way of a sports massage. If you feel the need to stretch your back or limbs after numerous hours of sitting or performing repetitive tasks, then perhaps it’s time to try a deep-tissue sports massage and see what immediate changes you can feel within your body. The physical benefits can be numerous, including reduced pain, increased range of movement, improved posture and relief from muscular tension.

But the benefits are not all physical. Many people report improved sleep and a reduction in stress levels as a result of their sports massages.


A healthy, well-performing body is not just reserved for athletes and sporting professionals. Everyone deserves to have a body that’s strong and able to support them in their everyday activities. If you feel it’s time you gave your body some TLC, or you’re curious to see how this form of massage could benefit you specifically, get in touch with your local sports massage therapist. You may find sports massage to be the missing puzzle piece from your regular self-care routine.