The mind and the body are interconnected in many different ways beyond the nervous system, and a huge determining factor for how quickly sports massage will help someone recover from injury is as much mental as physical.

There have been several studies that correlate mental well-being with the speed and completeness of recovery, and whilst there are a lot of other factors that go into injury recovery, it is clear that mentality is part of this.

Specifically, there are four common barriers that the mind puts in place to protect from further mental and physical injury that act as a detriment to physical health and lead to longer times away from competition.

All-Or-Nothing Thinking

Players and athletes are taught to execute everything they do with a very small margin of error, and this is an important part of training, if not outright essential in certain disciplines.

However, it also leads to a rigid mentality that makes it difficult to recover. Sometimes an athlete needs to return to their training slowly and ramp up from there as they get used to the new sensations of their body.

Outside Stress

Beyond the sport itself, typical stresses such as financial pressures, relationship strains and obligations that take away from recovery time can take their toll.

Trying to ignore them is not only impossible but often leads to fixations, so massage’s side effects of helping to relieve stress physically and mentally have an effect on recovery and performance.

Reinjury Fears

Particularly for joint and muscle injuries, the biggest barrier to recovery is the fear of getting the same injury again and reliving that agonising pain that stops an athlete from doing what they love and are best at.


Whilst delusions about the level and speed of recovery are not helpful either, athletes should try to be realistically optimistic about their outcome. Their body will typically recover from injuries, particularly if they get professional treatment and follow their rehabilitation timeline.

Negativity becomes an almost self-fulfilling prophecy.

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