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Therapist Education Impacts the Massage Effect on Postrace Muscle Recovery


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2007 - Volume 39 - Issue 1 - p 34-37
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000240320.16029.d2
CLINICAL SCIENCES: Clinically Relevant

Purpose: The intention of this study was to assess the effectiveness of massage on muscle recovery as a function of therapist education in participants who completed a 10-km running race.

Methods: Race participants were offered a 12- to 15-min massage immediately postevent. Participants were randomly assigned to a student therapist with either 450, 700, or 950 h of didactic training in massage. Muscle soreness was recorded by questionnaire using a 0- to 10-point visual scale at time points immediately before and after massage, and 24 and 48 h postevent. Eight hundred ninety-five subjects were recruited, with 317 subjects returning questionnaires from all time points.

Results: Race participants who received massage from student therapists with 950 h of didactic training reported significantly greater improvement in muscle soreness across time compared with those who received massage from therapists with 700 or 450 h of education in massage (P < 0.01). On study entry, there was no difference in muscle soreness (P = 0.99), with a group mean of 4.4 ± 0.4; at the 24-h measurement, soreness was 2.4 ± 0.6, 3.7 ± 0.5, and 3.6 ± 0.9 for the 950-, 700-, and 450-h groups, respectively (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: Level of therapist training was shown to impact effectiveness of massage as a postrace recovery tool; greater reduction in muscle soreness was achieved by therapists with 950 h of training as opposed to those with 700 or 450 h.

University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO

Address for correspondence: Albert Moraska, Ph.D., School of Nursing, University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, 4200 East Ninth Ave., C-288, Denver, CO 80262; E-mail:

Submitted for publication May 2006.

Accepted for publication July 2006.

©2007The American College of Sports Medicine