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. 2010 Jun;42(6):1062-71.
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c9214f.

Massage Impairs Postexercise Muscle Blood Flow and "Lactic Acid" Removal


Massage Impairs Postexercise Muscle Blood Flow and "Lactic Acid" Removal

E Victoria Wiltshire et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. .


Purpose: This study tested the hypothesis that one of the ways sports massage aids muscle recovery from exercise is by increasing muscle blood flow to improve "lactic acid" removal.

Methods: Twelve subjects performed 2 min of strenuous isometric handgrip (IHG) exercise at 40% maximum voluntary contraction to elevate forearm muscle lactic acid. Forearm blood flow (FBF; Doppler and Echo ultrasound of the brachial artery) and deep venous forearm blood lactate and H+ concentration ([La-], [H+]) were measured every minute for 10 min post-IHG under three conditions: passive (passive rest), active (rhythmic exercise at 10% maximum voluntary contraction), and massage (effleurage and pétrissage). Arterialized [La-] and [H+] from a superficial heated hand vein was measured at baseline.

Results: Data are presented as mean +/- SE. Venoarterial [La-] difference ([La-]v-a) at 30 s of post-IHG was the same across conditions (passive = 6.1 +/- 0.6 mmol x L(-1), active = 5.7 +/- 0.6 mmol x L(-1), massage = 5.5 +/- 0.6 mmol x L(-1), NS), whereas FBF was greater in passive (766 +/- 101 mL x min(-1)) versus active (614 +/- 62 mL x min(-1), P = 0.003) versus massage (540 +/- 60 mL x min(-1), P < 0.0001). Total FBF area under the curve (AUC) for 10 min after handgrip was significantly higher in passive versus massage (4203 +/- 531 vs 3178 +/- 304 mL, P = 0.024) but not versus active (3584 +/- 284 mL, P = 0.217). La(-)- efflux (FBF x [La-]v-a) AUC mirrored FBF AUC (passive = 20.5 +/- 2.8 mmol vs massage = 14.7 +/- 1.6 mmol, P = 0.03, vs active = 15.4 +/- 1.9 mmol, P = 0.064). H+ efflux (FBF x [H+]v-a) was greater in passive versus massage at 30 s (2.2 +/- 0.4e(-5) vs 1.3 +/- 0.2e(-5) mmol, P < 0.001) and 1.5 min (1.0 +/- 0.2e(-5) vs 0.6 +/- 0.09e(-5) mmol, P = 0.003) after IHG.

Conclusions: Massage impairs La(-) and H+ removal from muscle after strenuous exercise by mechanically impeding blood flow.

Comment in

  • Massage and lactate clearance.
    Moraska A. Moraska A. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Apr;43(4):738; author reply 739. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182078709. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011. PMID: 21412113 No abstract available.

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