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Sore Muscles? Don't Waste Money on Massage, Try Light Exercise Instead

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After a demanding workout nothing seems to soothe those aching joints and muscles more than a relaxing massage. New research suggests that more exercise can be just as effective in alleviating soreness.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) commonly occur after a long workout where muscle tissue has been has been stretched beyond what it's accustomed too.

A study involving 20 healthy women around 32-years-old compared the effects of both massage and light exercise on muscle soreness, Reuters reported.

Women participating in the study were asked to perform resistance shoulder workouts targeting the trapezius muscle. After a 48-hour waiting period, the women received a 10 minute massage on the neck and back than were asked to perform ten minutes of resistance band shoulder shrugs.

Participants were also asked to rate the intensity of their soreness on a scale of one to 10 while researchers measured the pressure pain threshold (PPT) in their trapezius muscle before the treatment and zero, 10, 20, and 60 minutes after the treatment.

The average soreness rating before imploring either treatment was around an eight. After either receiving a massage or engaging in light exercise, the average rating of soreness intensity was around a five.

Researchers concluded that "active exercise using elastic resistance provides similar acute relief of muscle soreness as compared with massage."

Both light exercise and massage seem to offer maximum relief immediately following each treatment. The team added that coaches, physical therapists, and athletes could use this information for either preparation or relief of an athletic contest.

This study was published in the March 21 online edition of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

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