Massage Improves Performance After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage

Fifteen minutes of massage to the calf muscles following muscle-damaging exercise resulted in greater muscle strength and proprioception, compared to a group receiving no massage— according to researchers from Korea. Proprioception is the perception of movement and spatial orientation of various parts of the body. Muscle damage was induced using eccentric contractions, which injure important parts of the muscle cells (Z lines) and trigger secondary inflammation. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) has been a serious challenge to muscle physiologists for more than 100 years. Treatments such as stretching, ice, heat, active exercise, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxers have been largely ineffective. Post-exercise massage might help prevent DOMS. (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 29: 2255-2260, 2015)

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