The physical demands of athletic performance can take a toll on the body over time. One of the best ways to keep sports performance at its highest is to incorporate massage into your recovery program. The benefits of regular massage and bodywork tend to be overlooked, but the benefits provided make massage as necessary for recovery and improvement as stretching.  Benefits include increased balance and strength, reduced recovery time, and reduced risk of injury, which are all essential aspects of a training and recovery program for any serious athlete. There are many types of techniques that can be used in sports massage, from deep tissue work to the ancient (but seriously trendy) cupping craze.  The breakdown below explains how massage can be truly impactful for the athlete and keep you on your game. PHYSICAL ALIGNMENT:Massage reduces imbalances in the body through passive stretching and knot removal. Imbalances naturally develop as a result of training and sports performance, (such as using one arm for throwing or using a dominant leg for jumping motions). Through various techniques like muscle kneading, forearm dance (where the therapist uses their elbow and ulna bones), and flushing, athletes can experience reduced risk of injury and reduced recovery time. By restoring balance in the body and reducing muscle stiffness, athletes will find that they have increased range of motion and have more natural movement because the body does not have to overcompensate due to over or underuse of specific muscle groups. One way massage can help with reduced recovery time? By majorly easing soreness!Research shows that massage therapy is effective in significantly reducing delayed onset muscle soreness, the dreaded “DOMS” that can occur 24 to 72 hours after training and athletic performance. Less DOMS translates to being able feel your best and do your best every time. REDUCTION OF TOXIC LOAD:Massage aids in flushing the entire body system by removing lactic acid (which plays a role in development of muscle fatigue and soreness) and increasing circulation for improved performance.  Because of the release of toxins that occurs, it is important to drink plenty of water to support the removal of these compounds that are being released from muscles, lymph and fat during a massage. Consider drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of filtered water. WHAT IS MASSAGE CUPPING?

It isn’t just for famous swimmers! Michael Phelps made it famous at the 2016 Olympics, but this ancient form of Chinese medicine has been improving healing and increasing muscle flexibility for thousands of years. Cupping is a therapy where cups are applied to the skin in a way that they create suction to stimulate the flow of energy, lymphatic drainage, and myofascial release. Some people like to think of it as “reverse massage”, because the skin and muscles are being gently lifted from the body rather than pressed down.

Types: Cupping can be wet or dry, and can be done with or without fire and alcohol to remove air from cup.  The cups themselves can be glass, bamboo, or silicone. Cups can remain in one place on the body, or a “gliding” technique can be used to move the cups around the body to help encourage blood flow and lymphatic drainage.

Benefits: Increased flexibility, fewer restrictions, release of stiff muscles, and reduction of inflammation

An important note- Traditional cupping results red or purple marks on the skin that last for about a week.  That being said, the silicone cups that I use rarely leave a mark and are great for moving along the entire muscle instead of staying in only one location. This technique allows the fascia over the muscles to create space for the muscle to become more flexible, less rigid, and it feels fantastic.

Adding sports massage to your recovery program can yield a more flexible, aligned, and strong body with the added benefit of a more relaxed mind! Watch your athletic performance improve, so that you can meet your goals and thrive!


  • Nearly twenty years of massage experience
  • Training in sports massage, cupping, prenatal, and cranio sacral therapy

The added benefit of physical exam- Doctors trained in physical medicineand massage (such as Naturopathic Doctors) offer their clients the added benefits of a physical exam within the massage, conducting the “detective” work to determine where and why the client have imbalances and determining the root cause. This way, the massage has not only the goal of relaxation and rest, but of goal of removing the cause of pain or imbalance!


Delayed onset Muscle Soreness:

Cupping research:

Forearm Dance Technique:

Dr. Natiya Guin – LIVV Natural Health, IV Vitamin Therapy, Massage Therapy, Naturopathic Medical Consults.

Alexandra Dusenberry, RDN – Bouquets and Baguettes.