Therapeutic sports massage in the context of sports specific injuries and rehabilitation, has been said to not only improve the physical attributes of certain structures and muscles within the human body, but to also have a strong psychological effect for an individual helping them overcome injury or increasing their injury prevention rate while helping to optimise performance (Galloway, 2004). In light of this it can be assumed that every person irrespective of whether they play sport or not, would benefit highly from some form of massage therapy (Alvarado, 2002).
To assess whether or not sports massage is an effective method of treatment or is in actual fact just a psychological treatment that has no real impact on the body, it is necessary to observe and evaluate the conducted research of current practitioners and other researchers that provide valid arguments to either strengthen or weaken the claim for more massage to be performed. The proposed benefits and hindrances will need to be highlighted within recent literature alongside the credibility of the sources that the research is derived from, as only if a source is deemed to be reliable can the research be seen as potential evidence to back up discussed points and reasoning. This review of literature will also set out to identify any potential future research points that could be taken to highlight and eradicate gaps in the current literature.
As there are a large number of studies that have been completed with regards to this particular field of interest, it is essential that the studies which will prove to be more informative and accurate with the results required for this observation need to be limited to particular ranges when searched for. To ensure that this is objective is accurately achieved, a literature matrix has been devised (Table 1). This matrix shows a detailed breakdown of the journals and studies that have been deemed to be the most appropriate for these research purposes. Search criteria has been narrowed down to ensure results fall into the categories of; date of study between 2000- present, participants between 10-30, ages between 18-40 and study design or results to have some relevance to performance of participants after receiving post event or post exercise massage treatments. Key words also used to gain the most appropriate results were; sports, massage, treatment, flexibility, range of motion, quadriceps and lactic acid.
It seems relevant to begin to analyse the literature in a chronological order, as new techniques and research methods are being developed or discovered every day. With this in mind it proves that methods that may be found more recently will provide more areas for discussion when relating to concepts of sports massage than those methods that are quite out dated.
The first study completed was one by Kokkonen (2002) and this explored the effects of chronic sports massage of strength and flexibility within an individual. With the results gathered it seemed that the effects of massage had a significant influence on the increase of strength and flexibility on limbs that had received the treatment, but in certain areas
Kokkonen has been very vague in the study. Kokkonen has decided on the method of treatment being given to either the right or left leg while the other remains as a control to measure results against, it has not been researched as to whether a person’s dominant leg is receiving treatment or not. This could lead to obscured results as if the dominant leg is not being treated then muscles will not have anywhere near full potential for strength measurements when tested as they will have overuse symptoms.
Kokkonen has completed 2 other studies (1996, 2008) that have both administered the test conditions on a specific leg, while the other leg remains untested. Again no consideration into…