In the realm of fitness and athletics, recovery is as crucial as the workout itself. A recent study, published on March 24, 2023, titled “Effectiveness of massage chair and classic massage in recovery from physical exertion: a pilot study“, sheds light on this vital aspect of athletic training. This study, focusing on the impact of hand and massage chair massages, offers valuable insights for fitness enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Understanding the Study

The research aimed to explore how different massage techniques affect the biomechanical parameters of muscles in the lower limbs and back, Pain Pressure Thresholds (PPT), and perceived fatigue in female recreational athletes. The key finding? Hand massage may be more effective in reducing muscle stiffness than massage chair treatments, suggesting a significant benefit for recovery post-exertion.

Application in Fitness Settings

For fitness centres and personal trainers, this study underscores the importance of incorporating manual massage into recovery routines. While massage chairs offer convenience, the tailored approach of hand massage can provide more significant relief from stiffness and fatigue, crucial for athletes who undergo rigorous training.

Advice for Massage Therapists

Massage therapists can use these findings to enhance their practice. Here are some tips:

  1. Personalised Techniques: Emphasise the value of personalised hand massage techniques that cater to specific muscle groups and individual needs.
  2. Educate on Stretching: Incorporate advice on stretching routines that complement massage therapy. For instance, recommend dynamic stretches before workouts and static stretches post-exercise.
  3. Focus on Problem Areas: Pay special attention to common problem areas like the lower back, hamstrings, and calves, which are prone to stiffness in athletes.
  4. Client Education: Educate clients on the benefits of regular massage for recovery, highlighting how it can improve flexibility, reduce soreness, and enhance overall athletic performance.

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Stretching Advice for a Range of Issues

Massage therapists should also guide their clients on stretching to address various issues:

  1. For Stiffness: Recommend gentle, sustained stretches, focusing on the major muscle groups used during their workout.
  2. Post-Injury: Advise on specific stretches that target the recovering area, ensuring they are performed gently to avoid re-injury.
  3. Flexibility Improvement: Suggest a routine of daily stretching, emphasising the importance of consistency for long-term flexibility gains.
  4. Relaxation: Encourage stretches combined with deep breathing for clients looking to reduce stress and muscle tension.

The study “Effectiveness of massage chair and classic massage in recovery from physical exertion” offers valuable insights for the fitness community. By integrating hand massage into recovery protocols and providing comprehensive stretching advice, fitness professionals and massage therapists can significantly enhance the recovery process for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. This holistic approach to recovery not only aids in physical rejuvenation but also prepares the body for future athletic endeavours, ensuring a balanced and sustainable fitness journey.


  1. Vaher, I., Tamm, A.-L., Salus, M., Reisberg, K., Vähi, A., Pallon, H., Paeste, A., Pirk, B.-B., Margus, M., & Schrader, T. (2023). Effectiveness of massage chair and classic massage in recovery from physical exertion: a pilot study. Journal of Novel Physiotherapies, 10(1). Click here to review the full research article.

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