Can a massage really help build muscles? It is a very important question for any athlete, no matter if we are talking about amateurs or pros. Why is massage so important? Because massage can encourage healing, increases the metabolism and helps to remove toxins and waste material from the tissue and blood stream.
Pictures of massage and spa treatment can be seen in Olympia in Greece, where the first Olympic Games took place, but there is also evidence in other cultures of the importance of massage in connection with athleticism. Most of the martial arts school in Asia have also a tradition of self-massage to encourage the flow of chi, which helps regeneration after intense training.
But I think especially with building muscles and body building in general, the importance of massage is often neglected. Surveys showed that this is mainly because massage is categorized as "girly" and for a manly sport like bodybuilding this just does not fit the image. But any bodybuilder who is serious about his ability to build muscles will not get around massage.
Lifting heavy weights repeatedly puts intense stress on the tissue and if the athlete wants to prevent tissue scarring, proper massage needs to be applied. If you are training 4-6 times a week, you should at least have 2-3 massage a week. The massage should be focussed on the body parts that were worked out. This is to save time and also, because a bulky muscle takes more effort on the part of the massage therapist is also less strain on the massage therapist.
TIP: Massage should usually not be applied immediately before a trainings session, because it makes the body relaxed, less alert and decrements the adrenaline, which is important for a heavy lifting session.