Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) frequently occurs after unaccustomed exercise, particularly if the exercise involves a large amount of eccentric (muscle lengthening) contractions. This often leads to:

  • delayed-onset muscle soreness
  •  swelling
  •  decreased muscle strength
  • reduced range of motion

Till now there has been no compelling research to prove that massage could improve the condition.

Researchers investigated the effect of a 15 minute massage on muscle strength and proprioception following EIMD.  Techniques used included:

  • light stroking
  •  milking
  •  friction
  •  skin rolling

The following measurements were taken:

  • Lactate ( pro analyzer in pre and post exercise)
  • Muscle activity (Surface electromyography)
  • Muscle thickness (sonograpghy)
  •  Proprioception (dual inclinometer)

The measurements showed:

1) Massage treatment on the gastrocnemius increased activation of the medial gastrocnemius during contraction

2)  Significant change in the lateral and medial gastrocnemius

3) No differences in the  angle between muscle fibers and deep aponeurosis

4)  proprioceptive acuity in the ankle joint was significantly greater in the massage-treated experimental group compared to that in the control group

Researchers (Shin & Sung 2014)  concluded  that massage of the gastrocnemius after EIMD can improve muscle strength and proprioception by influencing the superficial layer of the gastrocnemius.