Knowledge and perception of athletes on sport massage therapy

Keywords: sport massage therapy, athletes, knowledge, perception, mountain bike, trail running


Background: Interest in sport massage is steadily increasing in recent times especially in developing countries. One study showed that general practitioners had minimal or no knowledge about SMT. Coaches, athletes and sports medicine personnel have various beliefs about the benefits and efficacy of SMT. It would be prudent, therefore, for athletes who are frequent users of SMT to possess adequate knowledge and appropriate attitudes about SMT.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the knowledge and perceptions of athletes about SMT.

Setting: The study setting was located in the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Province, South Africa.

Research Design: A quantitative, cross-sectional and descriptive study design was used.

Participants: The study sample consisted of 110 conveniently sampled athletes, males and females aged 18 years and older from various mountain biking and trail running events in the City of Cape Town.

Methods: A researcher-generated and self-administered demographic questionnaire was distributed amongst the participants either as a hardcopy or completed online via Google forms. The knowledge and perception questionnaire consisted of 10 knowledge and 17 perception questions, and was based on previously validated questionnaires. The data was analysed descriptively using frequencies (percentages).

Results: The results of the study indicated that the participants had a moderate-to-high knowledge of SMT and that they had positive perceptions overall about SMT.

Conclusion: This study indicated that athletes who made use of SMT were quite knowledgeable about SMT and that they were well-disposed towards SMT as a beneficial modality for sport performance and post-exercise recovery.

Author Biography

Lloyd Leach, PhD, University of the Western Cape

Department of Sport, Recreation & Exercise Science

Associate Professor

How to Cite
Leach, PhD, L., & Schilz, BA (Hons), M. (2020). Knowledge and perception of athletes on sport massage therapy. International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork: Research, Education, & Practice, 13(1), 13-21. Retrieved from