Effectiveness of regular proactive massage therapy for novice recreational runners

Phys Ther Sport. 2011 Nov;12(4):182-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2011.02.007. Epub 2011 Apr 22.


Objectives: To assess effects of a regular massage program on novice runners over a longer-term training period.

Participants: Twelve control and sixteen massage subjects took part in the study.

Setting: Both groups participated in 10-week running preparation clinics.

Design: An individualized massage treatment plan was developed for each massage group participant. Massage group subjects met weekly with a registered massage therapist for a half hour massage. Control subjects were given no massage treatments.

Main outcome measures: All participants maintained a running journal that recorded running behavior: frequency, distance, intensity, and pain. At weeks 1, 5, and 10, muscle strength, leg pain, daily functioning, and running confidence were assessed.

Results: The running behavior of both groups was similar (p > 0.05). Both groups experienced a considerable amount of pain when they ran. However, 100% of the massage group compared to 58.3% of control group completed the 10 km race.

Conclusions: A regular massage therapy program during training did not improve indices of muscle strength, pain perception, daily functioning or running confidence. However, the entire massage group met their targeted running goals while only half of the control was able to do so however this difference may not be attributable to the massage intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Perception / physiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Running / physiology*
  • Running / psychology
  • Self Concept
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Thigh / physiology*
  • Time Factors