Research: GALLOWAY and WATT,

Listed in Issue 101


GALLOWAY and WATT, Department of Sports Studies, University of Stirling, StirlingFK9 4LA, Scotland, UK,, have quantified the massage provision by physiotherapists at major athletic events between 1987 and 1998.


Findings in the research literature are equivocal as to the efficiency of massage at athletics events. Despite this, massage remains widely used by athletes during training and competitions. The aim of this study was to quantify the amount of time that physiotherapists devote to massage at major athletics events.


Data recorded by the head team physiotherapist from 12 major athletics events between 1987 and 1998 were examined. Recorded were total number of treatments administered, treatment modalities used, and the number of attendances for treatment. The amount of massage provided was expressed as percentage of the total number of treatments for each event.


The percentage of time spent providing massage ranged from 24% to 52% of the total number of treatments made. Overall median percentage of treatments in the form of massage was 45%. No significant changes over time were observed.


A significant proportion of physiotherapists' time is spent massaging athletes at major events. Given the popularity of this treatment, it would seem indicated to consider the provision of specialist sports massage therapists at major athletics events. It would also seem a good idea to further investigate the efficacy of this treatment.


Galloway SDR, Watt JM. Massage provision by physiotherapists at major athletics events between 1987 and 1998. British Journal of Sports Medicine 38 (2): 235-236, Apr 2004.

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