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Home » Research, Sports Massage

Research: Effects of Massage after Exercise

Submitted by on November 13, 2009 – 6:11 amNo Comment

In a study published in the Journal of Alternative Medicine (2008), researchers found that a 40 minute myofascial massage after high-intensity exercise caused a significant decrease in both EMG amplitude and vigor when compared with a control group who engaged in a passive recovery for 40 minutes.  They concluded that “massage may induce a transient loss of muscle strength or a change in the muscle fiber tension-length relationship, influenced by alterations of muscle function and a psychological state of relaxation.”

Arroyo-Morales M, Olea N, Martínez MM, Hidalgo-Lozano A, Ruiz-Rodríguez C, Díaz-Rodríguez L. Psychophysiological effects of massage-myofascial release after exercise: a randomized sham-control study. J Altern Complement Med 2008; 14 (10): 1223-9.

This study suggests a few things to me:

First, it shows the potential effectiveness of post-event sports massage to aid in the recovery of an athlete.  The quicker we can calm down the muscles after intense activity, the faster the body’s natural healing processes can get into action.

Second, I believe it shows the potential error of using deep tissue work in a pre-event or inter-event massage.  In these situations, we do not want to calm the muscles, but rather keep them at a semi-excited state to allow them to contract with maximum power in the upcoming competition.

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