Benefits of Massage on Exercise

Whether you are a professional athlete or participating in an amateur sports league with your friends, exercise can provide significant benefits. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has even gone as far as releasing the first official U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines in 2008. These guidelines include substantial detail, including the following recommendations:

  • Participate in moderate physical activity, defined as 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity (e.g., walking), or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (e.g., jogging, sports)
  • Additional health benefits can be obtained by doing more than the minimum recommended dose, the higher target is 300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise
  • All adults should participate in 30 minutes of strength-building exercise on two days of the week that engages all major muscle groups
  • Children and adolescents should participate in 60 minutes of physical activity each day, of which at least three days a week should be vigorous activity[i]

However, exercise, when not managed correctly, can also lead to injury. To ensure that you are receiving all of the benefits of exercise and not setting your body up for failure over time, massage can be your body’s ally.[ii]

Benefits of Massage on Exercise

Incorporating professional massage into your routine can help enhance and sustain your athletic performance, including:[iii]

  • Reducing muscle tension
  • Promoting relaxation
  • Increasing range of motion
  • Improving soft tissue function
  • Supporting recovery or heart rate variability after high-intensity exercise
  • Decreasing muscle stiffness and fatigue
  • Reduce swelling
  • Decreasing delayed muscle soreness
  • Enhancing athletic performance
  • Reducing breathing pattern disorders
  • Preventing injuries

Massage to Manage Inflammation

A study conducted by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Ontario found evidence of the benefits of massage for individuals with musculoskeletal injuries and even showed potential benefits for those with inflammatory diseases.

This study included muscle biopsies of 11 young male subjects after a massage that took place 2.5 hours after intense exercise. The study found that at the cellular level, massage can provide similar benefits to anti-inflammatory medications.[iv]

Massage to Speed Recovery

Researchers at Ohio State University were curious whether the long-held theory about massage helping to improve recovery after a sports injury was based on reality. This study included the provision of massage therapy and compression of muscles after intense exercise reduced the swelling and muscle damage in a study using animals. While these findings aren’t directly applicable to humans they are seen as a strong start toward confirmation of massage’s benefits after intense exercise. [v]






Additional Resources


Irene’s Myomassology Institute is a nationally accredited massage therapy school located in Southfield, Michigan.  Scholarships and Financial Aid are available for qualified students to help them pay school tuition.  Our students graduate with a state license prepared for a successful career as a massage therapist.  Irene’s lifetime job placement services maintain an abundance of massage career opportunities for our alumni.  Irene’s student massage clinic provides affordable massage to the public at discounted prices for seniors and veterans. Irene’s massage supply store equips massage therapists with the necessities to manage a successful career.