Massage has been a therapeutic modality in all cultures since early civilization and has had a long tradition of use in the sporting context. However, there has been a paucity of scientific evidence of the physiological, psychological and therapeutic effects of commonly used massage techniques. This paper reviews the early and more recent studies on the effects of massage and also the more recent literature on its use on the sports person. Little agreement was found in English publications of the efficacy of massage and there were contradictory findings as to the optimum technique and length of time of application. It is clear that the role of massage - a time-consuming technique for a physiotherapist to perform - needs to be evaluated further in order to resolve some contentious issues arising about this mode of treatment and to justify its use.
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