Massage effects on delayed onset muscle soreness after acute eccentric exercise*,☆

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Massage is one of common methods of sport care and prevention and treatment of exercise-induced fatigue. However, the objective evaluation of massage preventing and treating delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) are few.


To evaluate the influence of massage on DOMS after acute eccentric exercise.


The case control observation was performed at the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine between April and July 2008.


Thirty healthy male students were randomly divided into the control, pre-exercise massage, and post-exercise massage group, with 10 cases in each group.


Cases in the pre-exercise massage group were intervened by massage for 30 minutes, which was followed by exercise 5 minutes later. At 30 minutes after exercise, cases in the post-exercise massage group accepted massage for 30 minutes and continued massage once a day with 30 minutes a time for consecutive 3 days. There was no other intervention before or after exercise in the control group.


The soreness intensity and duration time, maximal isometric strength, arm circumference, elbow flexion and extending degree prior to and immediately, 24, 48 and 72 hours after exercise. Meanwhile, serum creatine kinase (CK) was determined 1 hour before exercise, immediately, 24 and 48 hours after exercise.


Compared to the control group, the duration time of muscle soreness were significant reduced and shorter in the pre-exercise massage, and post-exercise massage groups (P < 0.01, P < 0.05), the maximal isometric strength was obviously recovered in the post-exercise massage at 72 hours after exercise (P < 0.01), the rising range of serum CK of pre-exercise massage group at 72 hours after exercise was significant lower. Moreover, the change of elbow flexion degree at immediately after exercise was much less than the control group (P < 0.05), while the recovery of elbow extending degree of pre-exercise massage group at 72 hours after exercise was much better than the control group (P < 0.05). In addition, there was no significant difference in the change of arm circumference among the three groups.


Pre-exercise massage can partially prevent DOMS, and reduce the severity of DOMS, while post-exercise massage can speed up the recovery of DOMS in certain degree.

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