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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Best 2008.

Effectiveness of sports massage for recovery of skeletal muscle from strenuous exercise

Best TM, Hunter R, Wilcox A, Haq F. Effectiveness of sports massage for recovery of skeletal muscle from strenuous exercise. Clin J Sport Med. 2008 Sep;18(5):446–60. PubMed #18806553.
Tags: treatment, muscle, self-treatment, massage, exercise, chronic pain, manual therapy, pain problems

PainSci summary of Best 2008?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

This review of studies of massage for DOMS found “moderate data supporting its use” — continuing the pattern of damning massage for DOMS with faint praise and pulling a barely-positive conclusion out of weak data.

original abstract

OBJECTIVE: Sport massage, a manual therapy for muscle and soft tissue pain and weakness, is a popular and widely used modality for recovery after intense exercise. Our objective is to determine the effectiveness of sport massage for improving recovery after strenuous exercise.

DATA SOURCES: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CINAHL using all current and historical names for sport massage. Reference sections of included articles were scanned to identify additional relevant articles.

STUDY SELECTION: Study inclusion criteria required that subjects (1) were humans, (2) performed strenuous exercise, (3) received massage, and (4) were assessed for muscle recovery and performance. Ultimately, 27 studies met inclusion criteria.

DATA EXTRACTION: Eligible studies were reviewed, and data were extracted by the senior author (TMB). The main outcomes extracted were type and timing of massage and outcome measures studied.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Data from 17 case series revealed inconsistent results. Most studies evaluating post-exercise function suggest that massage is not effective, whereas studies that also evaluated the symptoms of DOMS did show some benefit. Data from 10 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) do, however, provide moderate evidence for the efficacy of massage therapy. The search identified no trend between type and timing of massage and any specific outcome measures investigated.

CONCLUSIONS: Case series provide little support for the use of massage to aid muscle recovery or performance after intense exercise. In contrast, RCTs provide moderate data supporting its use to facilitate recovery from repetitive muscular contractions. Further investigation using standardized protocols measuring similar outcome variables is necessary to more conclusively determine the efficacy of sport massage and the optimal strategy for its implementation to enhance recovery following intense exercise.

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One article on cites Best 2008 as a source:

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: