Massage Is Effective in Alleviating Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness Caused by
muscle soreness from exercise can be caused by eccentric (stretching combined
muscle actions, and massage can effectively reduce this soreness, according to
researchers. “Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling,
and Recovery of Muscle Function” tested the hypothesis that massage applied
after eccentric exercise—in this case, arm curls—would effectively alleviate
pain without affecting muscle function.
healthy subjects (five men and five women) with no history of upper- arm injury
in resistance training were recruited for participation in the study, which took
Edith Cowan University. With each subject, one arm was the control, and the
the experimental treatment.
subjects performed 60 arm curls with each arm on a dynamometer, a machine that
function. The arm curls were divided into 10 sets of six, with a three-minute
rest between sets.
series was repeated once again two weeks later, and muscle soreness developed
after both exercise
hours after the exercise, a standard sports massage was performed on one arm for
other arm received no treatment. During the massage, each subject lay on his or
her back and
effleurage of the hand, wrist to elbow, and elbow to shoulder; petrissage of the
wrist to elbow,
elbow to shoulder; friction to the forearm, biceps, triceps and deltoids; thumb
petrissage of the wrist to elbow and elbow to shoulder; and repeat effleurage of
the hand, wrist to elbow, and elbow to
addition to muscle soreness (which was self-reported), other variables were
and isokinetic voluntary strength, range of motion, upper arm circumference, and
kinase (blood enzyme) activity. These conditions were recorded before,
immediately and 30
after exercise, and one, two, three, four, seven, 10 and 14 days after exercise.
provided a 20-percent to 40-percent decrease in soreness as compared with the
in each individual. It also reduced swelling and plasma CK activity. No change
motion was evident. The authors state that “massage, used appropriately, is
beneficial in reducing
muscle soreness and swelling associated with high-intensity eccentric
they point out that massage does not seem to improve recovery of muscle
Source: Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia; University Technology of
Zainal Zainuddin; Mike Newton; Paul Sacco; Kazunori Nosaka. Originally published
of Athletic Training,
Vol. 40, No. 3, September 2005, pp.174–180.
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