Purpose. Massage therapy is one of most commonly applied treatments during athletic training. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of sports massage therapy on reducing post-exercise quadriceps muscle soreness. Methods. A sample of 29 women aged 24-26 years was divided into an experimental group (n = 15) receiving classic sports massage therapy and a control group (n = 14) given no treatment. An exercise session consisting of five sets of deep squat jumps was administered after which lower limb power as assessed via the vertical jump test. Muscle soreness was assessed using the visual analogue scale (VAS) and exercise intensity with the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale. Subsequent measurements of lower limb power and muscle soreness were performed 24, 48, 72 and 96 h after the exercise session. Differences between the measurements were assessed by the Friedman and least significant difference tests while between-group comparisons involved the Mann-Whitney U test. Results. The largest decrease in lower limb power was observed between the first measurement after the exercise session and 24 h later (p < 0.01). The smallest decrease in power was observed in the massage group. The highest levels of muscle soreness were noted 24 h post-exercise in the massage group and 48 h post-exercise in the control group. The experimental group showed a decrease in muscle soreness in each subsequent measurement, with the results close to zero on the VAS 96 h postexercise. Conclusions. Massage therapy quickened recovery and improved muscle efficiency post-exercise and may serve as an effective treatment of muscle soreness. The analgesic effect of massage suggests it should be widely applied in sport, physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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