Kensrue, E. P., Bixby, W. R., Hall, E. E., & Miller, P. C. (June 02, 2010). The effects of imagery on performance and pain perception associated with delayed-onset muscle soreness. Presentation 1817 at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; June 2-5.

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This study determined whether the use of guided imagery for healing affects soreness, pressure pain threshold, and performance associated with delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It was hypothesized that those who listened to a healing imagery script would report less soreness, higher pain threshold, and better performance following DOMS than a control group. Ss (N = 38) completed two days of testing with 48 hours between them. At the end of the first day, DOMS was induced by performing 6 sets of 15 repetitions of isokinetic eccentric exercise at -1.05 rad/sec. Each day consisted of tests of soreness, pressure pain threshold, vertical jump, isokinetics at six speeds, and a Wingate test. Ss (N = 20) listened to a healing imagery script 10 times within the 48 hours after inducement of DOMS while the remaining Ss (N = 18) listened to relaxing music.

Perception of muscle soreness was worse for the front and back of the leg in both groups. The control group reported greater pain perception both before and after the intervention than the imagery group. Pressure pain threshold was lower after treatment in the lateral hamstring regardless of group. Peak torque for knee extension at 1.05 rad/sec was reduced after treatment for both groups. Peak torque for knee flexion at 2.09, 3.14, 5.24, and 6.28 rad/sec was better after treatment for both groups and peak torque for flexion was better at 6.28 rad/sec for both groups. The Power Drop percentage on the Wingate test was not significantly different between the groups.

Implication. Healing imagery had no significant impact on perception of soreness, pressure pain threshold, isokinetic measures, or anaerobic power testing.

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