By Albert Moraska, PhD in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
Background: Belief in efficacy of CAM therapies has been sparsely reported and may be different than reported use of the therapy.
Purpose: The aim of this study was to identify efficacy beliefs of massage for muscle recovery following a 10-km running race.
Setting: Finish zone of a 10-km race.
Research Design: Participants completed a brief survey regarding running race characteristics, prior use of massage, and belief in efficacy of massage regarding muscle recovery from the race.
Participants: The subject pool consisted of 745 individuals who completed a running race and were within 60 minutes of race completion.
Main Outcome Measures: Subjects reported demographic information (age, gender), race information (finish time, perceived exertion, muscle soreness, fatigue), prior use of massage, and belief regarding efficacy of massage for postrace muscle recovery.
Results: Most study participants believed that massage would benefit muscle recovery following the running race (80.0%), even though only 43.9% had received a massage previously. Those who had received at least one massage were significantly more likely to believe that massage would benefit muscle recovery (91.9% vs. 70.4%, p < .001). Females were more likely than males to have had a massage (52.3% vs. 36.0%, p < .001) and to believe it would benefit recovery (83.1% vs. 77.1%, p = .046).
Conclusions: Massage is well-accepted as a muscle recovery aid following a running race, but females and those who have used massage were significantly more likely to perceive it as advantageous. Belief in a therapeutic value of massage for muscle recovery exceeds its reported use.