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Br J Sports Med. 2003 Feb;37(1):72-5.

The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Center for Health Sciences, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.



The purpose of this study was to investigate the physiological and psychological effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).


Eighteen volunteers were randomly assigned to either a massage or control group. DOMS was induced with six sets of eight maximal eccentric contractions of the right hamstring, which were followed 2 h later by 20 min of massage or sham massage (control). Peak torque and mood were assessed at 2, 6, 24, and 48 h postexercise. Range of motion (ROM) and intensity and unpleasantness of soreness were assessed at 6, 24, and 48 h postexercise. Neutrophil count was assessed at 6 and 24 h postexercise.


A two factor ANOVA (treatment v time) with repeated measures on the second factor showed no significant treatment differences for peak torque, ROM, neutrophils, unpleasantness of soreness, and mood (p > 0.05). The intensity of soreness, however, was significantly lower in the massage group relative to the control group at 48 h postexercise (p < 0.05).


Massage administered 2 h after exercise induced muscle injury did not improve hamstring function but did reduce the intensity of soreness 48 h after muscle insult.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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