Effects of petrissage massage on fatigue and exercise performance

This study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, April 2008. The authors and studies are from Chukyo University, Japan.

It is generally believed that the massage is effective for recovery of the fatigue after the exercise.
However, the authors believed that the type of massage is an important factor.  For example, the authors assumed that effleurage has little effect on blood flow.

This study shows that petrissage massage had effective for decrease of perceived lower-limb
fatigue and muscle stiffness, and recovery of total power during bicycle ergometer pedaling.

Objective: Petrissage is assumed to influence circulation as well as interstitial drainage of both superficial and deep tissues. To study its effect it was applied between consecutive bouts of supra-maximal exercise performed by the lower leg muscles.

Methods: Subjects were 11 healthy female students actively engaged in sports. Exercise bouts of ergometer cycling at loads determined individually (0.75 kp x body weight [kg]) for 5 sec repeated 8-times at intervals of 20 sec had to be performed twice on an experimental day with 35 min intermittent bed rest. Each subject was investigated on two occasions with a minimum interval of one week, once without (control, CO) and once with 10 min petrissage (massage, MA) of the exercising lower leg during the bed rest phase. Effects of exercise bouts on blood lactate, muscle stiffness and perceived lower-limb fatigue and their recovery before and after the second exercise bout were determined.

Result: For the first exercise bouts total power did not differ between massage and control. Courses of blood lactate did not differ between massage and control. However, recovery from measured muscle stiffness and perceived lower-limb fatigure were more pronounced, and total power during the second exercise bout was enhanced in massage as compared to control subjects.

Conclusion: Petrissage improved cycle ergometer pedaling performance independent of blood lactate, but in correlation with improved recovery from muscle stiffness and perceived lower-limb fatigue.