Massage after exercise myth busted

May 7, 2009

A Queen's University research team has blown open the myth that massage after exercise improves circulation to the muscle and assists in the removal of lactic acid and other waste products.

"This dispels a common belief in the general public about the way in which is beneficial," says Kinesiology and Health Studies professor Michael Tschakovsky. "It also dispels that belief among people in the physical therapy profession. All the physical therapy professionals that I have talked to, when asked what massage does, answer that it improves muscle blood flow and helps get rid of lactic acid. Ours is the first study to challenge this and rigorously test its validity."

The belief that massage aids in the removal of lactic acid from muscle tissue is so pervasive it is even listed on the Canadian Sports Massage Therapists website as one of the benefits of massage, despite there being absolutely no scientific research to back this up.

Kinesiology MSc candidate Vicky Wiltshire and Dr. Tschakovsky set out to discover if this untested was true, and their results show that massage actually impairs blood flow to the muscle after exercise, and that it therefore also impairs the removal of from muscle after .

More information: This study will be presented at the annual American College of conference in Seattle, Washington May 27-30, 2009.

Source: Queen's University (news : web)

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4 / 5 (1) May 07, 2009
I see a great many of these unverified health claims in advertising and even in (poorly put together) textbooks. I'm glad to see someone is finally taking up the challenge of testing some of these claims to see if they are true or not.

It's kind of weird that they started with a harmless one though. Some of the claims are things that can have serious side effects. You'd think that they'd have started with that instead of with an innocuous thing like massage.
not rated yet May 08, 2009
how does massaging "impair blood flow"?
not rated yet May 08, 2009
Wow, don't those researchers know anything? Massage doesn't improve your health -- crystals and magnets do!

However, deep sport massage _is_ good for breaking down muscular scar tissue that results from muscle tears. Usually a couple of sessions is sufficient.

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