Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Kinesiology




Todd A. Hagobian, Ph.D.


Massage is often recommended to athletes to facilitate recovery and attenuate DOMS. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of massage on perceived muscle soreness and pain, inflammatory and immune markers, ROM, and mood state. Fourteen, recreationally active, women participated in a randomized crossover design study, consisting of 1) 60 min. full body massage following unaccustomed exercise and 2) 60 min. of rest. following unaccustomed exercise. Perceived muscle soreness and pain, active range of motion (ROM), mood state, along with blood concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP), creatine kinase (CK), and neutrophil count (NC), was assessed at baseline, 4hrs, and 24hrs following both treatment and control conditions. The aims of this study were 1) to decrease the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and increase time to recover, and 2) to investigate the effect of massage vs. passive rest on inflammatory and immune markers within the blood. We hypothesized 1) an increase in ROM, a decrease in perceived physical soreness and perceived physical pain, as a result of the massage, compared to control, and 2) a decrease in blood plasma inflammatory markers, CRP, NC, CK, and IL-6, as a result of the massage, compared to control. We found massage following exercise to 1) significantly decreased perceived pain (p=0.001), 2) significantly increased immune iv markers (WBC (p=0.012) and NC (p=0.012)), and 3) significantly decreased ROM (p=0.02), compared to control. Massage had no impact on inflammatory markers (IL-6, CRP, and CK), or mood.