Massage therapy can be found at just about any sporting event, from local 10K races to the World Cup, but the physiological benefits and mechanisms of massage are not well known, some researchers say.

So researchers in Canada and Argentina teamed up recently to investigate the effectiveness of three massage conditions on hip flexion range of motion (ROM).

This small-sample-size experiment could prepare the way for larger-scale studies. It involved a novel massage technique, which focused massage on the musculotendinous junction for a short duration, according to a report published on

Ten recreationally active women ranging from age 21 to 36 participated. The women were subjected to three massage conditions: no massage, 10-second massage and 30-second massage, in a random order on separate days.

Hip flexion angle, passive leg tension and electromyography (EMG) were measured three times before and within 10 seconds after the intervention, the pubmed report noted.

The 30-second massage provided a 7.2-percent increase in hip flexion ROM that was significantly greater than the control condition.

“With a significant increase in hip angle and no associated increase in passive tension or EMG, there is a suggestion that 10 and 30 seconds of musculotendinous massage induces greater ROM through a modified stretch perception, increased stretch tolerance, or increased compliance of the hamstrings,” the researchers noted. “Musculotendinous massage may be used as an alternative or a complement to static stretching for increasing ROM.”

The study was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Related articles
Massage is Effective in Alleviating Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness Caused by Eccentric Exercise

Trigger-Point Pressure Relieves Pain, Fatigue

Young Athletes’ Musculoskeletal Injuries on the Rise

Olympic Sports-Massage Therapist Profiled