Effect of massage on blood flow and muscle fatigue following isometric lumbar exercise

Med Sci Monit. 2004 May;10(5):CR173-8. Epub 2004 Apr 28.


Background: This study attempted to investigate the influence of massage on the skin and the intramuscular circulatory changes associated with localized muscle fatigue.

Material/methods: Twenty-nine healthy male subjects participated in two experimental sessions (massage and rest conditions). Subjects lay prone on the table and were instructed to extend their trunks until the inferior portion of their rib cage no longer rested on the table. Subjects held this position for 90 seconds (Load I). Subjects then either received massage on the lumbar region or rested for 5 minutes, then repeated the same load (Load II). Skin blood flow (SBF), muscle blood volume (MBV), skin temperature (ST), and subjects' subjective feelings of fatigue were evaluated using Visual Analogue Scale (VAS).

Results: An increase of MBV between pre- and post-load II periods was higher after massage than after rest (p<0.05). An increase of SBF at pre- and post-load II was observed only under massage condition. An increase of SBF between post-load I and pre-load II periods was higher after massage than after rest (p<0.05). An increase of ST between post-load I and post-load II periods was greater after massage than after rest (p<0.05). The VAS score was lower with massage than with rest in the post-treatment period (p<0.01).

Conclusions: A significant difference was observed between massage and rest condition on VAS for muscle fatigue. Lumbar massage administration also appeared to have some effect on increasing skin temperature and enhancement of blood flow in local regions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Exertion
  • Rest
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin Temperature
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared
  • Temperature


  • Lactic Acid