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Clin J Sport Med. 2019 Jan;29(1):49-56. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000485.

Effect of Physical Methods of Lymphatic Drainage on Postexercise Recovery of Mixed Martial Arts Athletes.

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Department of Physiological and Medical Sciences, The Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education, Katowice, Poland.
Department of Medical Sciences, The Wojciech Korfanty School of Economics, Katowice, Poland.
Department of Sports Theory, The Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education, Katowice, Poland.
Department of Physiology, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland.



Physical methods are reported to be important for accelerating skeletal muscle regeneration, decreasing muscle soreness, and shortening of the recovery time. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of the physical methods of lymphatic drainage (PMLD) such as manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), the Bodyflow (BF) therapy, and lymphatic drainage by deep oscillation (DO) on postexercise regeneration of the forearm muscles of mixed martial arts (MMA) athletes.


Eighty MMA athletes aged 27.5 ± 6.4 years were allocated to 4 groups: MLD, the BF device, DO therapy, and the control group. Blood flow velocity in the cephalic vein was measured with the ultrasound Doppler velocity meter. Maximal strength of the forearm muscles (Fmax), muscle tissue tension, pain threshold, blood lactate concentration (LA), and activity of creatine kinase were measured in all groups at rest, after the muscle fatigue test (post-ex) and then 20 minutes, 24, and 48 hours after the application of PMLD.


The muscle fatigue test reduced Fmax in all subjects, but in the groups receiving MLD, DO, and BF significantly higher Fmax was observed at recovery compared with post-ex values. The application of MDL reduced the postexercise blood LA and postexercise muscle tension.


The lymphatic drainage methods, whether manual or using electro-stimulation and DO, improve postexercise regeneration of the forearm muscles of MMA athletes. The methods can be an important element of therapeutic management focused on optimizing training effects and reducing the risk of injuries of the combat sports athletes.

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