Leg massage
for athletes, cramping, edema and pain

Leg Massage usually focuses on specific issues like increasing circulation, decreasing edema (water retention) with manual lymph drainage or loosening muscles due to cramping.

Massage therapy can also speed recovery after intense competitions or workouts like cycling or running. People who receive bodywork immediately afterwards are typically less stiff and sore.

The massage may include gliding, kneading, and deeper work with thumbs or forearm.

What are the benefits of receiving leg massage?

If therapy is done to decrease edema or water retention, upward strokes (toward the heart) are given. These manual lymph drainage massage techniques aid the body's blood circulation and lymph movement. For muscle cramping, massage increases circulation and therefore, increases the oxygen and nutrient flow to the muscle, which encourages healing.

Athletic Injuries

Massage for "shin splints" (pain in the muscles of the lower leg), is commonly given to athletes who have overworked the muscles. Cool, marble massage stones used during the massage session can help to decrease inflammation and swelling Bodywork, especially when using massage stones, speeds up the healing time, but must be given by a therapist who has experience working with athletic injuries to avoid further damage to the client.

Leg Cramps

Leg cramps or muscle spasms also lead people to massage therapists. Cramps are caused by dehydration of muscles, weight gain, pregnancy, lack of potassium, hormone imbalances, nerve abnormalities, and inadequate blood supply. Massaging the cramping muscle lightly and using a heating pad after the cramp has subsided is usually the best way to alleviate pain and tenderness.


Water retention or edema is another reason that people need massage therapy specifically for the legs. Often, manual lymph drainage techniques can encourage circulation and lymph movement, thereby, decreasing swelling and water retention.

It is important to have a massage therapist who is trained in lymph drainage techniques.

Always consult your doctor if you have prolonged leg cramping, swelling or inflammation.

Nerve Mobilization for the Neck, Back, Pelvis, Leg, Arm, Elbow & Wrist Medical Massage 2 DVD Set - Learn 130 Detailed Assessments and Soft Tissue Treatment Techniques Taught By Doug Alexander teaches how to massage the whole body, with an entire section on leg massage. Easy to follow instructions show how to provide stress relief and muscle tension release in the comfort of your own home.

Whether you want to learn massage techniques for edema, leg cramps, or to help release tight muscles from exercise, learning what to do to help someone with their pain can provide great relief.

Go back to Massage Education Guide Homepage

Go back to How to Give a Massage from Leg Massage

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