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))

 

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