Are There Benefits To Getting A Massage After A Hard Workout?


In a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine and several other studies, massage proved to lessen perceived delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) by 30% but didn’t prove effective for enhancing long term restoration of post-exercise muscle strength. ((Effleurage Massage, Muscle Blood Flow and Long-Term Post-Exercise Strength Recovery)) ((The effects of therapeutic massage on delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle function following downhill walking)) ((Evaluating the Influence of Massage on Leg Strength, Swelling, and Pain Following a Half-Marathon)) ((Effects of Massage on Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness, Swelling, and Recovery of Muscle Function))

However one study on NCAA women athletes have found that massage both decreased soreness and improved performance. ((The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness and physical performance in female collegiate athletes)) In another study with male bodybuilding athletes in Iran, it was also found that massage therapy improved physical performance and perceived recovery. ((EFFECTS OF MASSAGE THERAPY ON PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE AND PERCEIVED RECOVERY FOLLOWING ACUTE ECCENTRIC EXERCISE IN MALE BODY BUILDING ATHLETES))

Perhaps the perceived decrease in DOMS due to post exercise massage can be explained by the dampening of inflammatory cytokines in the muscle cells. ((Massage reduces inflammation and promotes growth of new mitochondria following strenuous exercise, study finds)) This finding also means that massage after exercise could help enhance endurance. ((What Massage Really Does to Your Muscles))


Beware of Ciguatoxins in Fish

Recently I dropped by the new Fisher Mall in Quezon City. They claim to have a good selection of fresh fish at good prices (and they did). They had huge reef fish like the barracuda, dorado, canary rockfish (canaryo) etc. Curious about these fish I googled them up for cooking methods and found out about ciguatoxins.

Most probably you have not heard about ciguatera poisoning or ciguatoxins. Red tide is more often mentioned in the media .


Ciguatera has been known since the 1500s and is estimated to affect an estimated 50,000 people worldwide annually. ((FAO Ciguatera Fish Poisoning)) Ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP) is a type of food poisoning that is acquired mainly by eating large reef fish such as barracudas, snapper, moray eels, parrot fishes (loro), groupers, triggerfishes and amberjacks that is highly contaminated. These fish are most likely to cause ciguatera poisoning because they eat smaller fish that are also contaminated by ciguatoxins. The CDC also has a list of common fish that is known to carry ciguatoxins.

Ciguatera Poissons

Ciguatoxins accumulate up the food chain and thus are mostly found in carnivorous, long living fish. Ciguatoxin is odourless, tasteless and very heat-resistant, so ciguatoxin-laden fish cannot be detoxified by conventional cooking. ((Ciguatera – Wikipedia))

Symptoms of ciguatera in humans include gastrointestinal and neurological effects. Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, usually followed by neurological symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, paresthesia, numbness, ataxia, vertigo, and hallucinations. Severe cases of ciguatera can also result in cold allodynia, which is a burning sensation on contact with cold. Neurological symptoms can persist and ciguatera poisoning is occasionally misdiagnosed as multiple sclerosis.

In the Philippines, there were 7 reported cases of CFP from 2001 to 2010. This is quite small when compared to red tide which has recorded 540 outbreaks between 1983 and 2002. Nevertheless, it is good to be cautious. The cases included barracuda, tuna, baby mackerel (lupoy), skipjack tuna (tulingan), spanish mackerel (tanguinge), blue marlin (malasugi), red snapper (maya-maya). About 500 people in total were affected by fish coming from Navotas, Malabon, Maguindanao, Antique, Cebu, Samar, Iloilo. ((Detection of ciguatera fish poisoning in the Philippines))

Detection is hard as one would need laboratory test equipment. There is currently no effective treatment for ciguatera poisoning.

The UP Law Aptitude Examination Results (UP LAE) 2014 Results Are Out, and I’m In!

The UP LAE Law Aptitude Exam for school year 2014-2015 results were out since Jan 30, 2014.

I didn’t think I would pass the exam and since the list was long I did a browser “ctrl+f” find for my name. It didn’t appear. Curious to double-check I then scrolled down, and to my surprise I see my name! I blinked twice and my name was still there.

This marks the first time I have passed a highly competitive exam. I wasn’t at the higher ranks in any of my classes before, and I never considered myself academically bright so this is very much a surprise.  I forgot how many thousands took the test, but only 180 are accepted for this prestigious opportunity.

This was my second take however, and I’m sure there are people in that list way younger than me who passed on their first take. I envy them for they are 10 years younger. I was hesitant and somewhat ashamed to take the test before, but I told myself there was nothing to lose and 10 years older doesn’t matter if I’m going to live ’til 100.

For those who are going to take the UP LAE next, here’s some unsolicited advice:

  • Be prepared, be very prepared.
  • Persevere.
  • It’s never too late.

It seems I could have used these tips before I went to climb Mt. Apo.

As for specifics, I hope this braindump helps, as it’s from somebody who took the test twice in a row.

I had a hard time with the test in these areas: (have to build mental models to quickly solve these problems)
  • language proficiency
  • verbal ability
    • Tedum Vitae, Bamboozle, Carte Blanche, Innocuous, Ennui, Estrange.
  • abstract reasoning (finding patterns or maybe there are none?)
  • quantitative reasoning (math)
    • trigonometry
    • probability
    • volume
    • compound interest
    • algebra and complex equations
      • quadratic equation
    • diagnoals in a polygon f
    • square and cubes shortcuts
    • square root shortcuts
    • multiplication and division shortcuts
    • addition and subtraction rules
  • logical reasoning
  • reading comprehension
  • general information (trivia questions)
    • romeo and juliet
    • famous novelists
    • famous classical musician
    • famous artists
    • harry potter and twilight
    • cheeses and wine and ham
    • tagalog classics like barok and jane, florante laura, rizal,
    • filipino artists, literary, heroes, presidents
    • Cartoon characters
    • Supreme court justices
    • Philippine presidents
    • Us presidents
    • Nationl heroes
    • National artists and musicians
    • Fictional literary figures
    • Philippine history
    • Flowers and their symbolisms

I distinctively remember questions such as:

  • What time is it in Delhi, India if it’s 5:30pm in Manila?
  • Which among the following is not a cheese?

When comparing the most recent exam to the previous:

  • Abstract reasoning was very hard and very short time given compared to the previous exam.
  • Quantitative reasoning composed mostly of word problems and easy are computations and graphs. It was way easier than the previous exam.
  • Logical reasoning did not need much symbol substitution, just read fast and comprehend.
  • General information was varied. There were preference questions are most probably Attitude Quotient (AQ) questions.

Nobody knows how the exams are graded, whether it’s right minus wrong, or one area has more weight than another.

Hope this helps you future lawyers! Also, you might want to read Tucker Max’s article Why You Should NOT Go to Law School.

So You Want to Climb Mt. Apo?

Back in 2005, a friend of mine, Hans, invited me to climb up Mt. Apo. To those unfamiliar, Mt. Apo is said to be the highest mountain in the Philippines with a height of almost 3,000m or 10,000ft above sea level.

At that time I was 23 years old, a weekend warrior who was stuck in his office chair for most of the week. I was feeling outdoorsy, adventurous and thought that climbing up and back down a mountain in 3 days shouldn’t be so hard. I thought I was tough enough for it and didn’t think much of Hans’ advice to train and prepare for the task ahead.

Boy was I wrong.

3 hours into the climb, I was sweaty, my feet soaked shin high in mud and my quads were screaming to rest. I couldn’t rest. The mountaineering group we joined were already far up ahead and all that was left behind was me and the group sweeper.  My thoughts were already thinking why the hell didn’t I prepare.

The second day was worst. After the strenuous first day climb, my whole body was sore. Every step that I made, I was questioning why the hell did I join the pleasure (or pain) of climbing up a mountain. But I had already committed. We were already halfway and turning back didn’t feel right. I had to push and persevere. Every step was a challenge and I just had to keep placing one foot in front of the other. I have just learned what perseverance meant.

The trail was not easy. There was mud, boulders, narrow cliff side trails, deep ravines, and steep almost vertical hills with only bushes to hang on to. At this point I was questioning my sanity and I appreciated how vulnerable I was to dying. One wrong step and I’m done.  I was not so tough and death was just one step away.

Fortunately my legs didn’t give up and we were able to reach the summit. Seemed like everybody was enjoying the view except me. I was thinking now I’m up here, it’s another tortuous trek going down!

I did make it down, exhausted and vowed not to ever climb another mountain.  However I am grateful to this Mt. Apo climb as it taught me these things:

  • Perseverance will get you there.
  • Life is short, appreciate it.
  • Success favors the prepared.