May 10, 2009

Massage not beneficial after exercise

Massage after exercise, despite conventional wisdom, does not improve circulation to the muscles or removal of lactic acid, researchers in Canada said.

This dispels a common belief in the general public about the way in which massage is beneficial, Michael Tschakovsky, a professor at Queen's University in Kingston, said in a statement.

It also dispels that belief among people in the physical therapy profession. All the physical therapy professionals that I have talked to, when asked what massage does, answer that it improves muscle blood flow and helps get rid of lactic acid. Ours is the first study to challenge this and rigorously test its validity.

Kinesiology candidate Vicky Wiltshire and Tschakovsky show that massage actually impairs blood flow to the muscle after exercise, and that it therefore also impairs the removal of lactic acid from muscle after exercise.

The study is scheduled to be presented at the annual American College of Sports Medicine conference in Seattle May 27-30.