Rod Thornley, The UK’s Leading Sports Massage Therapist

Rod spent 19 years as Manchester United’s first team Sports Massage Therapist and 15 years as the England football team’s Sports Massage Therapist. Through these roles, Rod has treated the likes of David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Cristiano Ronaldo, Steven Gerrard, John Terry and countless others. Rod is also the chosen Sports Massage Therapist for Soccer Aid, working alongside well known celebrities and helping raise funds for UNICEF UK.

Rod now works privately and treats his clients from a clinic in the heart of Hale on Tuesdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays Rod works from his clinic at Cheshire’s most exclusive health club – CPASE, based in Knutsford.

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What is Sports Massage and How is it of Benefit?

During a sports massage the musculoskeletal system (muscles, tendons and ligaments) is manipulated using hands-on techniques in order to improve its efficiency.

Sports massage is proven to release and reduce tension in muscles, improve circulation and encourage the removal of waste products such as lactic acid during high intensity activity and can help to relax the body. All of this helps promote recovery and reduces the chance of muscle injury. Those who are prone to overuse injuries often benefit from sports massage in between training sessions, as the muscles are allowed to relax and recover fully before the next session. In addition to the physical benefits, sports massage can help an athlete to mentally prepare for his/her activity or competition.



What We Do ?

Rod works in all aspects of Sports Therapy with particular expertise in the following:


Stretch massage works by lengthening your muscles, allowing you to move more easily. It also increases the range of motion in joints that are often locked or stiffened up.

Graston Technique

The Graston Technique is a state-of-the-art technique designed to treat acute and chronic soft tissue conditions and injuries.

The Graston technique is an innovative, patented soft-tissue mobilization technique in which the doctor uses specially designed stainless steel instruments to break up scar tissue and myofascial adhesions.

Hot Stone Massage

This type of massage allows you to enter more deeply into a state of relaxation as the therapist works to relieve muscle pain and tension. The heat within the rocks relaxes the muscles, making them more pliable.

Trigger Pointing

Trigger pointing assists pain to diminish and the tight point of a muscle to soften and relax. Trigger pointing enables pain to diminish and the tight point of muscle (under the therapists thumb) softens and relaxes.

Sports Massage

Sports massage is proven to release and reduce tension in muscles, improve circulation and encourage the removal of waste products such as lactic acid during high intensity activity and can help to relax the body. All of this helps promote recovery and reduces the chance of muscle injury.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massages are used to break up scar tissue and break down muscle adhesions (the “knots” that we feel in our muscles are muscle adhesions, which are bands of rigid and painful muscle tissue). These knots can inhibit our circulation and cause pain and inflammation.



Rod has had the chance to work with famous clients from sport, TV and music - here are what a few have said about Rod and his treatments!

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I first worked with Rod in 2000 when he started work at Manchester United. He was a bright and good natured person with a great sense of humour, so I knew he should have no problems fitting into the set up at Carrington. The players found him to be an asset to the club in a time of great success for the team.

As his skills developed as a masseur an opportunity came available with the national team and as a captain, I didn’t hesitate to put his name forward to Sven Goran Ericsson.

I worked with Rod at Man Utd until I left in 2003 and continued to work with him with the national team until my retirement from international football.

All this tme Rod’s attitude never changed, he is a hard working and friendly person, who has a positive effect on everyone around him.

Manchester United have an asset in Rod Thornley and I know for fact that he will be hugely missed by all that work with him at The FA, and he will be very difficult to replace.

David Beckham -

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I write to give a personal view and testimony about Rod Thornley.

I have been Head of Medical services at the FA since early 2009. The role includes being Doctor to the England Men’s Senior Team, leading the medical team, of which Rod is a member, whilst the team is together for matches and tournaments.

In the last five years, I have attended two FIFA World Cups, and one UEFA Championship, as well as matches in the Middle East, Kazakhstan, and various far flung places.

Rod Thornley has been a vital member of our medical team at all these events and venues. Rod has many qualities, some obvious, and some less so. What I can say about him is that he is loyal, honest, and conscientious. All these things are not invariably seen in one person, but his background has given him a set of values to admire.

Throughout the time I have worked with him, he has always been enthusiastic, able to communicate with all strata of staff, and has an understanding of his and others’ place in the multi-disciplinary medical team that I manage when with the England Team.

His skills as a soft tissue therapist are renowned within our set-up. Elite plays will not return for further treatment if they find the therapist in any way sub-standard. Suffice to say that Rod is always busy.

One quality that is less obvious until his surface is scratched is his excellent organisational abilities. He is able to cut across procrastination and formulate a definite plan for activities, as well as prepare schedules for treatments for members of our squad.

Lastly, he acts as a valuable link between players and the medical team. In our daily multi-disciplinary meetings, his insight into players’ emotional state and general wellbeing are invaluable. Armed with a fuller picture of player status, I am able to advise the coaching staff of any doubts in players, availability to train or play.

It just leaves me to say that he will be missed by us all, for his work ethic, enthusiasm, added value, and his ability to work with players who perform at the highest level.

Dr Ian Beasley - Sports Physician

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Rod is a close friend of myself and my family. We formed a great working and personal relationship from my very first England cap, of which I went on to captain the England team.

Rod was a great masseur and for me not only great at his job but the things that people don’t see, like myself struggling with an injury before a big game at Wembley and Rod working late at night to make sure I was right for the game. I saw him do this with numerous players throughout my England career.

I was so impressed with how Rod worked and the way the players trusted him that I asked Chelsea if we could bring Rod to the club and they gave me the green light to speak to him, I was excited by this as captain of Chelsea, Rod would be an excellent addition to our backroom staff, I asked Rod one night over a coffee if he would be interested in joining us and there was an immediate answer of NO, and looking back I should have known because he was Man Utd through and through, and his response spoke volumes for me and the loyalty he showed was the reason I wanted him to come to Chelsea.

I have worked with some great people personally and professionally, and Rod is right up there with the very best.

A genuine guy with a fantastic character and a great masseur.

John Terry - Chelsea and England

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I have known Rod since we first started working together in August 2001 with the England Senior Men’s Football Team. I have been the Head Physiotherapist for the team since August 1996. Rod has now worked in over 150 matches with me and been a valuable member of the Medical Team. From the moment he started working with us he has shown he is loyal and conscientious and has added value to the support the Medical Team has given the playing staff. His soft tissue therapy skills were excellent but he was always willing to learn and actually attended several CPD events organised for the England Medical Team. This included ‘Kinnective’ tissue courses, pilates courses and functional movement courses.

He has always been punctual and professional and it would be difficult to match his experience at this elite level. He contributed to medical meetings and was liked by all players, staff and management. His enthusiasm was infectious which was vital when being on the road for such long periods.

His organisational skills were excellent and he was the only person who could successfully organise events involving the players.

I did try to recruit him to come and work at my previous club, but his loyalty to Manchester United prevented him from doing so.

In conclusion I would say Rod is a highly experienced and highly skilled soft tissue therapist who will be greatly missed by the England Medical Team. I would go as far as to say that it will be difficult to replace him with someone of similar abilities.

I would have no hesitation in acting as a referee for Rod in the future.

Gary Lewin - GradDipPhys MSc HCPC Registered

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I have known Rod Thornley for thirteen years and we have always had a strong working relationship.

Rod is extremely loyal, professional and hard working. He helped me a great deal during my time with England with his top-level therapy and soft tissue massage.

Rod is very reliable and certainly one of the best I have worked with in my career. I would not hesitate to use him in the future and highly recommend him to others.

Steven Gerrard - Liverpool FC and England Player


Get In Touch

07887 522800

Hale Clinic (Tuesdays)

Precious Health, Progress House, 17 Cecil Road Hale, WA15 9NZ

Mobberley (Knutsford) Clinic (Mondays and Wednesdays)

CPASE, Faulkners Lane, Great Warford, Knutsford, WA16 7RN

All treatments are strictly by appointment only, CPASE clinic is available to both members and non-members.

Please book by either calling, messaging or WhatsApps to 07887 522800. Alternatively you can email rod@rtsportmassage.co.uk or complete the online contact form below

CPASE members can also book via their members app.


    Sports Massage

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Rod works in all aspects of Sports Therapy with particular expertise in the following:

    1. Should I have a Sports Massage or physio assessment & treatment?

    Sports massage is an excellent way to encourage fast recovery and assist in injury prevention. However if you have sustained an injury that is preventing you from participating in the sport that you love, or you are struggling to perform at your best due to a series of “niggles”, we would recommend that you book an appointment for a physio assessment and treatment which can address problems in more detail.

    2. How do I book a Sports Massage with Rod Thornley?

    Rod’s Knutsford clinic at CPASE is on Mondays and Wednesdays and his Hale clinic is on Tuesdays.

    All treatments are strictly by appointment only, CPASE clinic is available to both members and non-members.

    Please book by either calling, messaging or WhatsApp to 07887 522800. Alternatively you can email  or complete the form in our contact section.

    CPASE members can also book via their members app.

    3. Who can benefit from Sports Massage?

    Anyone and everyone! Whether you are a seasoned competitor looking to improve your performance and achieve PB, new to sports and want to relax your aching muscles, are returning from an injury and keen to get going again or simply want to prevent injury following gentle jogs, a sports massage could benefit you.

    4. When should I have a Sports Massage?

    Sports massage can be effective during preparation, training, competition and recovery, though the emphasis of the massage will vary for each stage.

    Routine maintenance massage: A regular massage treatment programme can be devised by a physiotherapist based on the individual’s requirements for their sport and level of participation. It can concentrate on particular muscle groups to help to maintain or improve the range of movement and flexibility and can target any areas which are likely to cause the individual trouble or injuries to assist in their prevention. Your physiotherapist can also give you stretches and exercises to help maintain the benefits between massages.

    Massage for a specific event or competition: Massage before and after an event is used for specific purposes. Pre-event massage can be used alongside a participant’s warm-up to boost circulation and reduce muscle tension, whilst also assisting with mental preparation. Massage given following an event is used to enhance the body’s recovery process through reducing muscle spasms and metabolic build-up. Effective pre- and post- event massage can allow a participant to return more quickly to training and competition and reduce the risk of injury

    Rehabilitation: If you are returning to a sport following injury, sports massage can aid in the rehabilitation process, it can speed healing and reduce discomfort. The techniques used in sports massage can be effective for both acute and chronic injuries.