The Mechanisms of Massage and Effects on Performance, Muscle Recovery and Injury Prevention

  title={The Mechanisms of Massage and Effects on Performance, Muscle Recovery and Injury Prevention},
  author={Pornratshanee Weerapong and Patria A. Hume and Gregory S. Kolt},
  journal={Sports Medicine},
AbstractMany coaches, athletes and sports medicine personnel hold the belief, based on observations and experiences, that massage can provide several benefits to the body such as increased blood flow, reduced muscle tension and neurological excitability, and an increased sense of well-being. Massage can produce mechanical pressure, which is expected to increase muscle compliance resulting in increased range of joint motion, decreased passive stiffness and decreased active stiffness… 

Effects of a Massage Protocol in Tensiomyographic and Myotonometric Proprieties

Main effects of pre-competition massage on neuromuscular function include a significant (p < 0.05) increase in Tc and Dm variables, as well as a reduction in stiffness and tone.

the effects of exercise and massage on disuse muscle atrophy in special focus on mechanical stress

The associations among physical exercise, disuse muscle atrophy and massage with respect to mechanical stress on muscle tissues are described and massage is considered to provide the physiological, biomechanical, neurological and psychological benefits.

Compression-induced improvements in post-exercise recovery are associated with enhanced blood flow, and are not due to the placebo effect

Findings suggest compression tights worn after resistance exercise enhance blood flow and indices of exercise recovery, and that these benefits were not due to a placebo effect.

Effects of mechanical bed massage on biochemical markers of exercise-induced back muscle fatigue in athletes: A randomized controlled trial.

Significant differences were observed between mechanical bed massage and rest condition on serum cortisol and creatine kinase for exercise-induced muscle fatigue, which may reduce stress and muscle damage for the athlete after training or competition.

The acute mechanism of the self-massage-induced effects of using a foam roller.

The acute effects of massage on muscle tone and perceived recovery

The purpose of this study was to determine the correlations between subcutaneous tissue and rectus femoris muscle thickness and muscle tone and to monitor the effects of massage on perceived recovery.


Thai massage is effective to increase muscle oxygenation levels and seems to be associated with increased duration of isometric muscle fatigue and higher muscle force.

Massage and stretching reduce spinal reflex excitability without affecting twitch contractile properties.

Massage impairs postexercise muscle blood flow and "lactic acid" removal.

This study tested the hypothesis that one of the ways sports massage aids muscle recovery from exercise is by increasing muscle blood flow to improve "lactic acid" removal by mechanically impeding blood flow.

Massage enhances recovery following exercise‐induced muscle damage in older adults

Moderate effects of CWI had only some modest effects on muscle pain, but massage attenuated EIMD symptoms and the related impairments in muscle strength, joint position sense, balance, and postural sway in untrained older individuals.



Etiology of exercise-induced muscle damage.

  • P. ClarksonS. Sayers
  • Biology
    Canadian journal of applied physiology = Revue canadienne de physiologie appliquee
  • 1999
Factors involved in the damage/repair process and alterations in muscle function following eccentric exercise are reviewed.

Effects of massage on physiological restoration, perceived recovery, and repeated sports performance

These findings provide some support for the psychological benefits of massage, but raise questions about the benefit of massage for physiological restoration and repeated sports performance.

Manual massage and recovery of muscle function following exercise: a literature review.

  • P. Tiidus
  • Education
    The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy
  • 1997
Because manual massage does not appear to have a demonstrated effect on the above, its use in athletic settings for these purposes should be questioned.

Mechanisms of exercise-induced delayed onset muscular soreness: a brief review.

  • R. Armstrong
  • Medicine
    Medicine and science in sports and exercise
  • 1984
The best treatment for delayed-onset muscular soreness appears to be muscular activity, although the sensation again returns following the exercise, and training for the specific contractile activity that causes DOMS reduces the soreness response.

Warm-up, stretching and massage diminish harmful effects of eccentric exercise.

This combination of a warm-up, stretching and massage reduces some negative effects of eccentric exercise, but the results are inconsistent, since some parameters were significantly affected by the treatment whereas others were not, despite the expected efficacy of a combination of treatments.

Failure of manual massage to alter limb blood flow: measures by Doppler ultrasound.

If an elevated muscle blood flow is the desired therapeutic effect, then light exercise would be beneficial whereas massage would not, and the results indicate that manual massage does not elevate muscleBlood flow irrespective of massage type or the muscle mass receiving the treatment.

The short-term effects of myofascial trigger point massage therapy on cardiac autonomic tone in healthy subjects.

In normal healthy subjects myofascial trigger-point massage therapy to the head, neck and shoulder areas is effective in increasing cardiac parasympathetic activity and improving measures of relaxation.

The effect of passive stretching on delayed onset muscle soreness, and other detrimental effects following eccentric exercise

It is concluded that passive stretching did not have any significant influence on increased plasma‐ CK, muscle pain, muscle strength and the PCr/Pi ratio, indicating that Passive stretching after eccentric exercise cannot prevent secondary pathological alterations.

Massage and ultrasound as therapeutic modalities in exercise-induced muscle damage.

  • P. Tiidus
  • Medicine
    Canadian journal of applied physiology = Revue canadienne de physiologie appliquee
  • 1999
Much more research is needed to determine whether either massage or ultrasound can have any therapeutic effect on exercise-induced muscle damage and recovery of postexercise muscle function.