A recent study found massage may aid in recovery, particularly among women, from the temporary state of immuno suppression often induced by exercise.
“Massage after exercise—responses of immunologic and endocrine makers: A randomized single-blind placebo-controlled study” involved 60 healthy, active subjects, all of whom were university students. Twenty-three of the subjects were women, while 37 were men.
Each participant underwent two exercise sessions at least two weeks apart and at the same time of day. The first session served to familiarize subjects with the exercise protocol. After the second session of exercise, subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 40 minutes of massage therapy or 40 minutes of sham electrotherapy.
The recovery massage protocol involved 40 minutes of myofascial massage,The massage therapist focused on the legs (gastronemious and biceps femoris), lower back, neck, face, skull and anterior thigh. Long strokes, J strokes, cross-hand technique, sustained pressure on occipital condyles and ear pulls were performed during these sessions.
“The main finding of this study was that, among the women, massage produced a greater recovery of the sIgA rate after intense exercise compared with sham treatment,” state the study’s authors. “The influence of gender on response to massage will be the subject of future study by our group.”