Mancilelli, C. A., Brady, M., Hendershot, A., Smith, C., & Stuchell, A. (2004). Effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness and physical performance in female collegiate athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 1144.

"Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can affect training and hinder performance in the professional and amateur athletes. DOMS is characterized by pain in the affected muscle especially with active movement, passive stretching, or direct palpation, along with swelling and muscle stiffness that can last up to six days" (p. S168). This study determined if post-exercise massage had an effect on DOMS and physical performance in female collegiate athletes. Female basketball (N = 11) and volleyball (N = 11) players participated in a control (N = 11) or treatment (N = 11) group. Baseline measures were taken on Day 1 of preseason training for vertical jump height, a 10-yd shuttle run, quadriceps flexibility, and tolerance to deep muscle pressure. Ss then carried out their usual preseason training routine. On the day of peak soreness, as predicted by the strength and conditioning coach, the treatment group received a massage to each thigh while the control group rested. Each baseline test was repeated both pre- and post-massage treatment for both groups. Ss gave a subjective report of pain using a 10-point scale.

There was a significant increase in vertical jump displacement, perceived soreness, and muscle soreness tolerance on the left side in the massage group from pre- to post-treatment. The control group recorded slower shuttle run times.

Implication. Vertical Jump height and perceived muscle soreness improved following massage after accumulated hard workouts. Massage reduced the effects of DOMS and improved some aspects of physical performance in female collegiate athletes.

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