treadmillTo complement the Research Reports in the November 2014 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: Sedentary women who received massage 20 minutes after regular exercise experienced positive health effects, including decreases in levels of malondialdehyde and increases in levels of superoxide dismutase and glutathione.

A group of sedentary women experienced positive health effects after participating in regular exercise and massage manipulations. The study, “The effect of regular exercise and massage on oxidant and antioxidant parameters” included 25 sedentary women, ages 32 to 50 years old.

Oxidative stress involves oxidant-antioxidant imbalance, and is known to cause cardiovascular disease, as well as cell and DNA damage. Studies have been conducted involving the effect of acute exercise on oxidative stress, but there haven’t been any studies regarding the effect of a combination of regular exercise and massage on oxidant and antioxidant activity.

Since massage is a popular treatment method used to prevent fatigue from intense muscular activity and muscle damage, researchers chose to incorporate both exercise and massage. The study’s authors stated, “this experimental study aimed to determine the effects of the combined application of regular exercises and massage on the values of malondialdehyde (MDA), nitric oxide (NOx), glutathione (GSH), adenosine deaminase (ADA) and superoxide dismutase (SOD).”

Participants were randomly divided into three groups: the control group, exercise group and massage and exercise group. 

The control group (CG) avoided any form of exercise or supplement that may affect oxidant- antioxidant status. Exercise group (EG) participants exercised on a treadmill for 45 minutes at 50 percent overloading rate, and were monitored and motivated by two trainers. The massage and exercise group (MEG) participants participated in the same exercises as the EG and received massage therapy, consisting of effleurage and petrissage massage manipulation, for 20 minutes after exercise. During the 12-week study, all exercise and massage sessions occurred from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Participants’ blood samples were taken before and one day after the 12-week exercise and massage protocol. Post-test analysis concluded a decrease of MDA in both the EG and MEG participants. Compared to the control group, EG and MEG participants reflected a significant increase in GSH and SOD values. Data suggests a combination of regular exercise and massage manipulations may positively affect oxidative stress.

According to the study’s authors, “The findings show that regular physical activities and massage manipulations significantly decrease MDA, increase SOD and GSH activities, and result in no change in NOx and ADA activities; [which] supports the assumption that regular physical activity has positive health effects.” The authors also pointed out that further studies should be conducted to support these findings, and should be conducted especially regarding massage’s effect on oxidant and antioxidant balance.

 Authors: Aysun Bay Karabulut, M. Emin Kafkas, Armagan Sahin Kafkas, Yunus Önal and Tugba Rabia Kiran

Sources: Department of Biochemistry, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey; School of Physical Education and Sports, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey; Department of Chemistry, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey; and Institute of Health Sciences, Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey. Originally published in 2013 in Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.

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