Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now



A History of the Sports Massage 27

Posted on October 29, 2013 by Daniel Lofthouse

sports massageEvery good athlete knows the benefit of a sports massage, and it is often a factor in their success. Some elite athletes even have sports massage therapists who travel with them to help them improve performance, prevent injury and feel better as they are exercising or playing their sport.

Ancient Massage
Massage generally has been in existence for thousands of years. In China, there are documents claiming that massage was used 8,000 years BC for ailments. The ancient Persians and Indians were also known for healing with massage, and the Ancient Romans were treated to a massage before and after Olympic events. Knowledge of massage continued to progress until the Chinese created the first schools of massage in 100 AD.

Late 1800s
There is debate about who introduced the theories and techniques of medical massage to the scientific community. Some attribute them to Johann Mezger, and others to Pehn Ling. However, terms such as effleurage (gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (pounding), friction (rubbing) and vibration (shaking) were used at this time, and they continue to be used to this day.

The Finnish School of Massage officially laid out sports massage methods in 1900. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Larry “The Zonk” Csonka
      January 29, 2022 | 4:43 pm
      Larry Csonka

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the leader of a running attack that was the cornerstone of two Super Bowl Championship teams, including the only undefeated squad in NFL history.

      With his distinctive headgear and a body suited for punishing contact, Larry Csonka looked the part of a fullback and for 11 NFL seasons delivered and took regular punishment on his way to the Hall of Fame.

      Following in the great tradition of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Jim Nance and Floyd Little, Csonka earned All-American honors at Syracuse while rushing for 2,934 yards.  He began earning a name for himself as the Most Valuable Player of the East–West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl, and the College All-Star Game.

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