Just when I was planning to schedule a relaxing, post-Round 3 massage to help me recover from months of daily workouts, The New York Times' Well Blog posted a piece about how post-exercise massages may actually be counterproductive:
The results [of a study by Associate Professor Michael Tschakovsky of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario], published in the latest issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, are a blow, at least to those of us who justify our massages as medicinal. It turned out that massage did not increase blood flow to the tired muscle; it reduced it. Every stroke, whether long and slow or deep and kneading, cut off blood flow to the forearm muscle. Although the flow returned to normal between strokes, the net effect was to lessen the amount of blood that reached the muscle, particularly compared with the amount that flowed to the forearm muscle during 10 minutes of passive recovery...
As a “direct result” of the lessened blood flow to their muscles, Mr. Tschakovsky says, the volunteers being massaged wound up with far less lactic acid removal than the groups who recovered passively or actively. Massage “actually impairs removal of lactic acid from exercised muscle,” Mr. Tschakovsky and his colleagues wrote in their published study.In the immortal words of Senator Clay Davis, sheeeeeeeeeeit.
(Source: The New York Times)