Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. Summary box What is already known ► A previous smaller meta-analysis found that massage gave small and inconsistent improvements in performance recovery. ► A previous smaller meta-analysis found that massage gave no significant improvement in pain or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). ► Previous studies have shown inconsistent effects of massage on flexibility. What are the new findings ► Our larger meta-analysis finds that massage induces no significant improvement in measures of performance (sprint, jump, strength, endurance or flexibility, or in fatigue) ► Our larger meta-analysis finds that massage provides a small benefit in reducing or preventing DOMS. ► Our meta-analysis shows massage induces a small but significant improvement in flexibility compared with no intervention. AbSTrACT Objective Massage is ubiquitous in elite sport and increasingly common at amateur level but the evidence base for this intervention has not been reviewed systematically. We therefore performed a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effect of massage on measures of sporting performance and recovery. Design and eligibility We searched PubMed, MEDLINE and Cochrane to identify randomised studies that tested the effect of manual massage on measures of sporting performance and/or recovery. We performed separate meta-analyses on the endpoints of; strength, jump, sprint, endurance, flexibility, fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Davis, H. L., Alabed, S., & Chico, T. J. A. (2020). Effect of sports massage on performance and recovery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 6(1), e000614. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjsem-2019-000614