Massage Therapy: Where’s the Rub?

Massage brings a body of knowledge to golf-related aches and pains.

The golf swing puts unnatural stress on our bodies. It contracts the muscle fibers, causing compression, pain and discomfort. Massaging the fibers takes the pressure off the nerves surrounding the muscles, increasing blood flow and allowing the body to start a natural restorative process. Get off the course and onto the table regularly.


Why it hurts: Tendinitis can develop from repeated gripping of the club. Also when hitting from thick rough or striking rocks, roots or hardpan.

Why Massage helps: Stretching techniques relax the wrist and hand, allowing deeper muscle work to reduce swelling and ease pain.


Why it hurts:  Strain from the gripping and rotation of the club can cause inflammation.

Why Massage helps: Trigger-point therapy and passive stretching reduces pain and contracted muscle knots. It also increases range of motion.


Why it hurts: Repetitive motion and/or poor technique can injure the deltoid muscles and the rotator cuff area.

Why massage helps: Cross-fiber friction techniques break up scar tissue and release adhesions. Myofascial release benefits other muscle areas compromised from shoulder injuries.


Why it hurts:  The rhomboids and trapezius create much of the force of the full swing. The moving torque can further stress these muscles.

Why Massage Helps: Swedish techniques, like deep Petrissage and Effleurage, can increase circulation and relax muscular tension.


Why it hurts: A golf stance creates stress in the muscle groups of the lower back. The rotation of the swing exacerbates it.

Why massage helps: Deep tissue and targeted sports massage techniques decompress and stretch muscles, reducing tension and stiffness.


Why it hurts: Repetitive planting the front leg to generate power for the downswing can strain the hamstring muscle group.

Why massage helps: Heat therapy (warm towels, topical analgesics, hot stones, etc.) combined with deep-tissue massage relaxes larger muscle groups and calms spasms and tightness.


Why it hurts: The constant twisting of the golf swing puts tremendous strain on the ACL and MCL of the lead knee.

Why massage helps: Deep tissue massage & friction on muscles surrounding the knee can relieve pain & swelling.


Why it hurts: The constant shifting of weight, pressure from planting for the shot, and, for some, walking 18 holes.

Why massage helps:  Reflexology targets pressure points on the anterior and posterior foot and ankle areas. Massage increases circulation, loosens muscles and relieves soreness.


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CG Funk, a 2013 Massage Therapy Hall of Fame Inductee, is vice president of industry relations and product development for Massage Envy (, which has 850 locations nationally, including 28 in Colorado.