Host: Dr. Scott Jablonka (Carolina Movement Doc)

Episode Summary

This episode features our podcast host, Dr. Scott Jablonka, expounding on the role of sports massage in Physical Therapy. 

In this episode, Dr. Jablonka explains how sports massage is a key tool in the recovery of athletes and individuals who engage in fitness-oriented physical activities. He breaks down the benefits and the methods by which such benefits are attained.

New to the gym? Enjoy Dr. Jablonka’s free courses!

Dr. Jablonka has just launched two free courses to help beginners get started in the gym. Check them out on his website:

  1. Introduction to Functional Fitness
  2. Introduction to Olympic Lifting


More More Podcast with Dr. Scott Jablonka | Most effective recovery method? Sports massage.

Top Takeaway

“Athletes need to limit their downtime… they need something to help them spring back. This is where sports massage comes into play.”
– [Dr. Scott Jablonka]

Episode Highlights

  • [00:45] Intro
  • [01:30] Dr. Jablonka’s free courses.
  • [02:02] The best factor in the recovery of athletes, sports massage.
  • [04:10] Reducing injury risk using sports massage.
  • [14:28] How does sports massage work?

Episode Notes

Sports massage is not your typical massage

Sports massage is not the common massage people get at relaxation centers and spas. Sports massage helps to enhance performance indirectly, and reduce injury risk in athletes.

Benefits of sports massage

Dr. Jablonka working out with weights

Athletes must function at high intensity and stay at the top of their game. The need to prevent injuries is tremendous. As such, many professional athletes may have a personal bodywork specialist whom they invest in.

Dr. Jablonka and his practice, Carolina Movement Doc, work closely with massage therapists for several reasons:

  • Sports massage may reduce the risk of injury. With risk reduced, athletes can play with more confidence which promotes greater performance.
  • Sports massage can improve recovery speed. This is especially beneficial because recovery slows with age.
  • Massage therapists who specialize in sports massage are incredibly adept at assessing tissues, which makes them invaluable for physically active individuals. Many athletes would benefit greatly from sports massage which can target specific areas of muscles.

Cons of sports massage

Athlete using a massage gun for recovery

There are two major obstacles when it comes to sports massage:

  • Sports massage is a reoccurring cost, unlike other one-time purchased tools (such as massage guns, Normatec recovery systems, and other recovery tools.
  • You have to find a massage therapist to carry out the work. Most people will not be able to afford a sports therapist coming to their home, so you must seek out an expert with a facility.

What exactly does sports massage do to your body?

The process of sports massage may feel painful. This is because of what is being done within the body:

  • Mechanical pressure is applied to increase muscle compliance, which increases the range of motion by reducing muscle stiffness.
  • Sports massage can also increase arterial pressure and consequently blood flow to an area which improves the muscle contractility in the area.
  • On the other hand, there is a reduction in neural excitability, which decreases tension or tightness in the muscle. This allows the muscle to relax and become more extensible; known as the Hoffman Reflex.
  • Another effect of sports massage is a change in Parasympathetic activity which regulates the heart rate and lowers blood pressure as well as cortisol levels, resulting in more relaxation.

It should be noted that studies show that there is no direct effect on strength of muscles, but there is an impact on DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and muscle flexibility.

Regardless of whether you are an amateur or professional athlete, get a sports massage therapist whom you can keep a monthly (or more) appointment with. This will reduce injuries and the need for a more expensive orthopedic consultation.

Best sports massage practices in NC

Massage therapists recommendations from Dr. Jablonka:

While not exactly sports massage, Cup Therapy falls within the realm of sports massage. Cup Therapy also offers free education in the physiology and biology of the treatment methodologies.


Find | Dr. Scott Jablonka (the Carolina Movement Doc)