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Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the painful stiffness in your muscles that you get after strenuous exercise. It usually occurs several hours after exercise, when you have over exerted yourself or you have done things your muscles are not used to.
Athletes from all kinds of sports alleviate the pain of DOMS with sports massage but until recently there was no conclusive scientific evidence to prove this had any positive effect. Despite this, all kinds of athletes have relied on sports massage for millenia as a way to relieve pain and stiffness. The Greeks and Romans strongly believed in the benefits of massage for the athletes of their times. Galen (AD 30-200), who was a well-known Roman physician, prescribed massage for the gladiators both before and after exercising. Now a scientific study has proven what the Greeks, Romans and many athletes have always believed to be true; that sports massage can relieve DOMS. A study from US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, came up with the following results:
Results: Delayed-onset muscle soreness was significantly less for the massage condition for peak soreness in extending the elbow joint and palpating the brachioradialis muscle (P < .05). Soreness while flexing the elbow joint (P = .07) and palpating the brachialis muscle (P = .06) was also less with massage. Massage treatment had significant effects on plasma creatine kinase activity, with a significantly lower peak value at 4 days postexercise (P < .05), and upper arm circumference, with a significantly smaller increase than the control at 3 and 4 days postexercise (P < .05). However, no significant effects of massage on recovery of muscle strength and ROM were evident.
Conclusions: Massage was effective in alleviating DOMS by approximately 30% and reducing swelling, but it had no effects on muscle function.
DOMS can take up to seven days to disappear without treatment. This can be very uncomfortable if you are using the effected muscles in your daily activities. Sitting at an office desk is not made any more enjoyable by having stiff and painful limbs. Quick alleviation is sometimes vital for sportsmen who have to recover from training in time for a specific event. In each case the use of sports massage and deep tissue massage is a great way to get those muscles relaxed and flexible and it feels amazing too! The real reason many sportsmen have sworn by massage for so many centuries might just be because they love to get massaged! It’s the perfect way to unwind after exercise.
Many of our Spa Experience day spas are located in leisure centres where you can enjoy swimming, gymnasiums or other healthy activities prior to a relaxing massage treatment.