The History Of Sports Massage


Sports Massage is a popular form of massage treatment, which is mainly designed for athletes.

It’s a form of bodywork that can help participants in athletics recover from injuries and workouts. 

Sports massage is used to help athletes maintain optimal conditions and prepare the body for strenuous training.

This article provides in-depth details about the history of sports massage and other relevant details you should know.

History Of Sports Massage

The origin of Sports Massage is traced back to the well-known sports massage of the ancient Egyptian, Chinese and Greek civilizations.

In 460 BC, Hippocrates, considered the father of medicine, stated the benefits of “rubbing” the human body. 

But it was only at the start of the twentieth century; we saw the development of the beginnings of Sports Massage techniques.

The first Sports Massage system came from Swedish massage (developed in the 18th century) and was utilized initially at a massage school in Finland. 

When Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals in the 1924 Olympics, he attributed his success to sports massage during his training program. 

After that, the focus of Sports Massage treatment shifted to Russia after a notable physician created Sports Massage methods for the “Moscow Institute of Physical Therapy.” 

As a result, Russian athletes have been actively using the therapy in their training sessions ever since.

Also Read:The History Of Swedish Massage

History of Equine Sports Massage In The United States

Jack Meagher is referred to as the father of equine sports massage in the US. This is because he invented the term Sports Massage, even though he spelled it “sportsmassage.” 

As a soldier during the Second World War, he wrote that a German prisoner taught him about massage and “stress points.” 

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He describes these as sensitive / triggering point formations that are tender when touched and fibrous which affect a muscle’s pull and strength.

When he went back to the United States, he attended two massage schools. After a decline in Massage Therapy popularity in the 50s and 60s, Meagher came up in the 70s working with equine and human athletes. 

Since he had a way with horses, he began to treat racehorses. This set Meagher on his own path with his unique sense.

Additionally, Jack Meagher taught others and insisted that horses could not describe what was wrong, and if they were not happy with what you did, it could all go terrible. 

As years went by, Meagher treated horses at various events, including the Olympics games, world championships, and several other top events in North America.

How Does It Work & Benefits

The essence of Sports Massage is to use massage treatment to attend to your specific needs, such as tense muscles or ligaments, stiffness in the limbs, or back pain.

A Sport Massage therapist uses their hand to combine several techniques, which involve heavy kneading of the body’s soft tissue regions like the tendons, muscles, and fascia.

Consequently, this massage type enables them to ease an athlete’s muscle tension, boost blood flow and improve mobility. All these could positively impact the performance of an athlete before a competition.

So what are the benefits of Sports Massage?

The paragraph below provides four reasons you should incorporate a Sports Massage into your training regimen:

#1. It Can Make You Feel Good

Being athletic is not just about physical strength. A simple and relaxing back massage can help us feel great. Furthermore, a targeted and intense sports massage has many positive effects on an athlete’s mental health. It can help to improve performance and recovery.

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Besides, Massage techniques enable the body to release the mood-boosting chemicals dopamine and serotonin. This helps improve one’s sense of calm and focus – and decreases anxiety.

#2. To Prevent ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is sometimes referred to as “muscle fever.”

This painful and stiff feeling condition results after partaking in strenuous exercise that your muscles could not handle. 

DOMS usually appears hours or even weeks later after strenuous activities. The good news is that Sports Massage can help you to prevent DOMS before discomfort and soreness kicks in.

#3. To Relieve Tension And Stiffness

Sports massage helps to alleviate tension and stiffness by stretching and warming your body tissues. 

Consequently, this increases blood flow toward your muscles. Also, your muscle’s flexibility and mobility are greatly improved. 

#4. It Helps To Reduce Pain

It’s well-known that pain can affect any area of the body. An upper/ lower back pain is one of the most common complaints. With sports Massage, you can combat and alleviate pains on any part of the body.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is The Father Of Sports Massages?

Jack Meagher is commonly called the father of sports massage in the United States of America.

What Are The Three Types Of Sports Massage?

The three types of Sports massage are as follows:

  • Pre-event massage 
  • Post-event massage,
  • Maintenance massage.

What Is One Of The Major Benefits Of A Sports Massage?

One of the significant benefits of sports massage is that it helps to create a more relaxed, focused, and clearer Mind. 

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What Is The Difference Between Deep Tissues And Sports Massage?

Sports massage differs from deep tissue massage because it targets injuries that are specific to sports. On the other hand, deep tissue massage aims specifically to alleviate stress and chronic muscle tension.

When To Get Massage 

Getting a massage greatly depends on the type of sport and the physical requirements of the athlete. Hence the massage can be tailored to the athlete’s different needs. Massage is most effective when incorporated into a person’s exercise regimen.

Final Words

Finally, this article has covered the history and origin of Sports Massage. You can see that Sports Massage therapy has been around for a long time. And it’s beneficial for everyone, including athletes. 

Hence I recommend you give it a try and see how it impacts your physical well-being. If you feel that visiting a sports Massage therapist may be well above your budget, then I suggest you try the Opove M3 Pro Massage Gun. 

This device is affordable, effective, and provides all the benefits of receiving a Sports Massage from a therapist. Click here to read my review of the Opove M3.

Disclaimer:The information contained in this article is a result of in-depth research on the subject matter. This article is only for informational and educational purposes, and it’s not intended as medical or health advice. Hence, I suggest you always ensure to seek the opinion of your doctor or other qualified health personnel regarding any questions that relate to health objectives or medical conditions.

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