Does sports massage affect recovery from exercise?

Sports massage is a popular treatment to speed recovery after strenuous exercise.

Researchers from The Ohio State University in Columbus reviewed its effectiveness.

First, the details.

  • Literature searches identified eligible studies for review.

And, the results.

  • 10 studies reported moderate benefit with massage therapy.
    • There was no correlation between the type and timing of massage and any specific outcomes.
  • Studies that evaluated the symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) reported benefit.
    • DOMS describes the muscle pain and soreness felt 12 to 48 hours following exercise.

The bottom line?
Sports massage targets deep muscle and uses oil and rapid movements, particularly of the forearm, elbow, and wrist.

The authors concluded that massage therapy “facilitates recovery from repetitive muscular contractions [aka exercise].”

Results from a recent study of the effect of massage on DOMS is summarized here.

9/25/08 21:04 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.