Therapeutic sports massage is a technique that treats recreational activity-related injuries and pains. Modernly, this therapeutic massage practice is mainly used as a healing technique for athletes. Historically, these massage recovery techniques are used and developed as far back as 8000 BC.
Dating back to 8000 BC, people in China used massage as a way to treat ailments. Ancient Persians and Indians also often healed through the art of massage techniques. In ancient Rome, they even used massage to help the gladiators recover after the Olympic battle games. Areas all around Asia and Europe used different forms of massage practices to heal aches and pains, which would be the first glimpses of what we now consider sports massage therapy to be.
Later on, in history, but still dating back to way before modern medicine, other advances took place. In 100 AD, the first school of massage was opened in China. Much later down the road, in 1812, Henrik Ling, a gymnast and fencing master, combined Swedish massage with other exercises to create kinesiotherapy. This type of therapy, which applies scientific exercises to strength and endurance enhancement, was the first early modern step to today’s sports massage.
In 1900, the Finnish School of Massage developed the Sports Massage Methods, which outlined different therapies that use massage to help with activity-based injuries and pains. Later on, in 1924, Paavo Nurmi, a five-time gold medalist in the Olympics, popularized sports massage as a recovery technique when he claimed the therapy helped improve his performance.
The popularization of sports massage grew and spread throughout Europe as well as throughout America. In the 1970s, M.D James Cyriax, the father of orthopedics, developed a deep friction technique that is still being used today.
In 1986, the inclusion of sports massage in American athletes” training led to the National Sports Massage Team launch.
Sports Massage Today
Between the years 1996 and 2010, sports injuries were treated mainly with various techniques of massage therapy. With the growth in popularity of sports massage techniques and recognizing its genuine assistance in recovery from severe, painful injuries, it became the primary recovery technique for athletes.
Modernly, becoming a sports masseuse requires a person to go through specific training. Generally, a person working to become a sports masseuse requires a post-secondary class of between 500 and 1,000 hours. Then, to acquire their license, they need to pass an exam.
Medical professionals, and therapists like sports masseuses, know now that there are so many benefits to massage therapy, from assisting with pains and stiffness to increasing mobility. These various therapy techniques treat ailments from swelling and soft-tissue injuries to a restricted range of motion.
Though it has evolved considerably from the time of ancient China, sports massage therapy continues to improve. Recently, professionals are focusing both on physiological and psychological approaches to sports injury remedies.