Sports-massage therapists witness the results of massage therapy at every athletic event they work for. New research shows massage therapy combined with compression is effective in managing the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage.

British researchers set out to determine the efficacy of a combination of manual massage and compressive clothing and compressive clothing individually as recovery strategies after muscle damage.

Results showed the massage-and-compression treatment “significantly moderated perceived soreness at 48 and 72 hours after plyometric exercise in comparison with the passive recovery or compression alone treatment,” the researchers noted. “The results indicate that the use of lower limb compression and a combined treatment of manual massage with lower limb compression are effective recovery strategies following EIMD [and] … the combination treatment may be beneficial in controlling perceived soreness.”

“Efficacy of Lower Limb Compression and Combined Treatment of Manual Massage and Lower Limb Compression on Symptoms of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage in Women” was published in the The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. (24(11): 3163-3171, 2010-.)