I recently went for a professional medical massage, and felt incredibly relaxed afterwards. He only did my torso and back, but the breathing feeling was so free I felt incredible. I sit all day in front of a computer, so my shoulders are usually quite tight - I felt like in heaven.

I could imagine, that the relaxed feeling would allow me much better control over my movement during a run, as well as breathing ability.

About 24h after though, I had quite some sores along the primary massaged muscle groups. Two days later I'm feeling fine again, but my upper body is as tense as always. So I'm wondering if a massage is a stress on the body that would interfere with the stress of a competition.

Is there any drawback to getting a massage before a competition? (I run, swim and bike, but I assume this could apply to any sports discipline).


2 Answers 2


I am a massage therapist. I specialize in deep tissue and sports massage. A Swedish massage is NOT a deep tissue massage. True deep tissue is concentrated on specific areas of the body. To do a full body deep tissue it would take HOURS to complete. Deep tissue is NOT recommended before any athletic event. It would be too invasive and change the body too much. A sports massage is recommended before any sporting event. This includes friction, tapotement, range of motion of the joints to increase or decrease stiffness and gentle stretching.

Post event massage is what we call the cool down massage... this is where you would receive a Swedish or circulatory massage to help flush the built-up lactic acid, decrease muscle soreness and aches.

  • I don't know why this was downvoted. This seems like a perfectly valid answer from someone with experience in the field.
    – F1Krazy
    Mar 6, 2020 at 8:03
  • Possibly the inclusion of personal details implying an invitation to engage with said field-experienced likely-professional looked a lot more like spam and/or copy-pasta?
    – Nij
    Mar 6, 2020 at 20:39

I am not a massage therapist, but I have received many different types of massages and treatments over the years, so I can share my experience.

If you get a deep tissue massage - sometimes called a "swedish" massage - the muscle areas that were massaged are going to feel a little sore afterwards and the muscles themselves are going to be dehydrated somewhat. This is why after getting a deep tissue massage you are encouraged to drink plenty of water to help re-hydrate your muscles. I would definitely not recommend getting a massage like that before a competition. It will hurt your performance, not help.

If you get a relaxation massage where they use light pressure then I would say go ahead and do that before a competition if you feel it helps your movement during a run and with breathing.

Having said all of that, what I would think to be the best kind of treatment to receive before a run or any kind of competition would be some assisted stretching after you perform a light warm-up routine. Spend 10-20 minutes doing light exercise (just enough to where your heart beat is slightly elevated) then get on a table where someone can help you go through some stretching routines. That has helped me the most before any kind of competition and gets me the most loosened up.


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