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Chir Narzadow Ruchu Ortop Pol. 2008 Jul-Aug;73(4):261-5.

[Effects of massage on delayed-onset muscle soreness].

[Article in Polish]

Author information

  • 1Studenckie Koło Medycyny Sportowej, Uniwersytet Medyczny im. Karola Marcinkowskiego w Poznaniu. pawelbakowski@o2.pl



Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the pain or discomfort often felt 12 to 24 hours after exercising and subsides generally within 4 to 6 days. Once thought to be caused by lactic acid buildup, a more recent theory is that it is caused by inflammatory process or tiny tears in the muscle fibers caused by eccentric contraction, or unaccustomed training levels. Exercises that involve many eccentric contractions will result in the most severe DOMS.


Fourteen healthy men with no history of upper arm injury and no experience in resistance training were recruited. The mean age, height, and mass of the subjects were 22.8 +/- 1.2 years, 178.3 +/- 10.3 cm, and 75.0 +/- 14.2 kg, respectively. Subjects performed 8 sets of concentric and eccentric actions of the elbow flexors with each arm according to Stay protocol. One arm received 10 minutes of massage 30 minutes after exercise, the contralateral arm received no treatment. Measurements were taken at 9 assessment times: pre-exercise and postexercise at 10 min, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, 72 and 96 hours. Dependent variables were range of motion, perceived soreness and upper arm circumference.


There was noticed difference in perceived soreness across time between groups. The analysis indicated that massage resulted in a 10% to 20% decrease in the severity of soreness, but the differences were not significant. Difference in range of motion and arm circumference was not observed.


Massage administered 30 minutes after exercises could have a beneficial influence on DOMS but without influence on muscle swelling and range of motion.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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