Sportsmen’s experience of the impact of massage by somatologists in enhancing aerobic performance
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For the purpose of massages before and after sports events, sportsmen are increasingly visiting somatologists working at private somatology clinics instead of other massage therapists. Massage is frequently utilised as a means of enhancing performance. It is known to have both calming and stimulating properties. Subsequently, it will have the potential to improve performance in numerous different circumstances. In the context of sportsmen visiting somatology clinics, it is unclear how men experience the impact of a massage by a therapist in the somatology environment in relation to the enhancement of sport performance. The objectives of this qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual study were to explore and describe the experiences of sportsmen receiving massage therapy in a somatology clinic, and to give recommendations to therapists for providing the treatment, prior to the sportsmen’s subsequent competitive events. A purposive sample was selected from sportsmen who visited a somatology clinic, and who had sought to be massaged at least during the fortnight prior to taking part in an individual interview. They were between the ages of 25 and 50 years, and actively participated in aerobic sports; such as boxing, squash, soccer, short and long distance running and rugby. The data were collected by means of eight in-depth, unstructured, individual interviews and written field notes, until saturation of data was achieved. Open coding of data followed. Some participants’ experiences of massage at a somatology clinic were positive, and stated that it assisted them to recuperate from fatigue and to reduce recovery time; especially during times of competition; and consequently was enhancing performance during the next event. Other participants were unable to comprehend exactly what was required of them while they were reflecting on their experiences. It was concluded that there was a need for somatologists to participate in the sporting industry, as they would educate sportsmen about the value of massage to the body.