Muscle-renewal massage for athletes, weekend warriors, and everyone becoming the best they can be

Massage for CrossFitters

"From Travis Skaggs I learned that there are three phases of training of sports massage that could improve an athlete’s performance. The first is rehabilitation, the second is recovery, and the third is performance enhancement. Rehabilitation, or using massage to treat a common muscular injury, speeds up the repair process by removing any residual side effects of natural repairlike adhesions or localized tightness. When an athlete “pulls a muscle” this could reflect many faults in a program and a qualified sports massage professional can see what I call “Fractal Errors”, or patterns of the mistakes that can be scaled at various levels or time periods. Many mistakes in training echo, like not resting properly between sessions, between training cycles or seasons, or even between reps. Athletes that constantly have the same problems need to connect the dots and find the constants that are part of the losing formula of injury. After the athlete is training consistently over a long period without injury or illness, a coach can employ bodywork, a general term of therapy that includes massage. Massage is a broad array of hands on techniques and is a primary method of improving recovery of the athlete’s body to improve the recovery of muscle tone, skeletal alignment, and even the elasticity and the power of an athlete. This can only be done if general and frequent preventative work is done to keep athletes from being injured in the first place. After an athlete is what I call stable from consistent training and massage, they can use the soft tissue therapy to maximize the recovery time period, be it hours or days, so they can train with full intensity during the next workout. This level of therapy is what I call the recovery enhancement phase, a period of time between workouts and a state of refinement of the restoration of the athlete. The final level of massage addresses actual performance enhancement of athletes through temporary change to their muscles and nervous systems. This level of therapy is done right before a game or competition and allows for a temporary state of tissue enhancement. The therapist will help lengthen the propulsive musculature, even out the texture of the tissue, and passively activate the nervous system." (Tyler Hass, Recovery & Regeneration, An Interview with Carl Valle - USATF II, CSCS, The CrossFit Journal,


"It was hypothesized that athletic massage administered 2 hours after eccentric exercise would disrupt an initial crucial event in acute inflammation, the accumulation of neutrophils. This would result in a diminished inflammatory response and a concomitant reduction in delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and serum creatine kinase (CK). Untrained males were randomly assigned to a massage (N = 7) or control (N = 7) group. All performed five sets of isokinetic eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors and extensors. Two hours after exercise, massage subjects received a 30-minute athletic massage; control subjects rested. Delayed onset muscle soreness and CK were assessed before exercise and at 8, 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 hours after exercise. Circulating neutrophils were assessed before and immediately after exercise, and at 30-minute intervals for 8 hours; cortisol was assessed before and immediately after exercise, and at 30-minute intervals for 8 hours; cortisol was assessed at similar times. A trend analysis revealed a significant (p < 0.05) treatment by time interaction effect for 1) DOMS, with the massage group reporting reduced levels; 2) CK, with the massage group displaying reduced levels; 3) neutrophils, with the massage group displaying a prolonged elevation; and 4) cortisol, with the massage group showing a diminished diurnal reduction. The results of this study suggest that sports massage will reduce DOMS and CK when administered 2 hours after the termination of eccentric exercise. This may be due to a reduced emigration of neutrophils and/or higher levels of serum cortisol." (The effects of athletic massage on delayed onset muscle soreness, creatine kinase, and neutrophil count: a preliminary report. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.  1994; 19(2):93-9 (ISSN: 0190-6011) Smith LL; Keating MN; Holbert D; Spratt DJ; McCammon MR; Smith SS; Israel RG,