Delayed onset muscle soreness: is massage effective?

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2013 Oct;17(4):475-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 Apr 13.


Despite the widespread occurrence of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), there is little consensus as to the exact cause or which treatments may be most effective at alleviating symptoms. Greater understanding of DOMS can give sports medicine and fitness professionals an opportunity to help prevent or speed recovery of this performance limiting condition. This article will review the DOMS literature, including the potential role of psychosocial factors and explore studies which involve massage therapy as a treatment modality. Articles from PubMed, MEDLINE, Google Scholar, and references from articles are included in this review. Search words and phrases included delayed onset muscle soreness, repeated bout effect, massage effectiveness, exercise induced muscle damage, and eccentric exercise.

Keywords: Delayed onset muscle soreness; Eccentric exercise; Massage; Repeated bout effect.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Creatine Kinase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Lactic Acid / metabolism
  • Massage / methods*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Myalgia / psychology*
  • Myalgia / rehabilitation*
  • Sports Medicine


  • Lactic Acid
  • Creatine Kinase