Jakeman, J., Day, J., Byrne, C., & Eston, R. (2009). Effects of a single manual massage treatment on the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage in young active women. A paper presented at the 14th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Oslo, Norway, June 24-27.

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This study aimed to establish the effectiveness of a single bout of manual massage immediately following exercise on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage. Physically active female volunteers (N = 16) completed 5 x 8-minute bouts of downhill running (-10% gradient) at 12 km/h to induce muscle damage. Ss were assigned to a control (N = 8) or treatment group (N = 8). A 30-minute sports massage was administered by a qualified sports masseur to the legs of the Ss in the treatment group immediately following the downhill running. Indicators of muscle damage (creatine kinase activity, perceived soreness, and maximal voluntary contraction of the quadriceps) were assessed immediately prior to, and at 1, 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours following the exercise.

Downhill running exercise had a significant effect on all the indices of exercise-induced muscle damage. No treatment effect was observed on creatine kinase activity or perceived soreness. However, the percentage peak torque decrement was less in the massage group than in the control at all post-exercise assessments.

Implication. Although manual massage treatment had no significant effect on perceived soreness or creatine kinase activity, it reduced the decrement in strength following exercise that produced exercise-induced muscle damage. Manual massage may aid recovery between multiple events where the turnaround time is short.

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