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Massage Abstracts Related to the Effects of Heat and Ice

Warm underwater water-jet massage improves recovery from intense physical exercise.

Viitasalo JT, Niemelä K, Kaappola R, Korjus T, Levola M, Mononen HV, Rusko HK, Takala TE
Eur J Appl Physiol 1995 71:5 431-8


The effects of warm underwater water-jet massage on neuromuscular functioning, selected biochemical parameters (serum creatine kinase, lactic dehydrogenase, serum carbonic anhydrase, myoglobin, urine urea and creatinine) and muscle soreness were studied among 14 junior track and field athletes. Each subject spent, in a randomized order, two identical training weeks engaged in five strength/power training sessions lasting 3 days. The training weeks differed from each other only in respect of underwater water-jet massage treatments. These were used three times (20 min each) during the treatment week and not used during the control week. During the treatment week continuous jumping power decreased and ground contact time increased significantly less (P < 0.05) and serum myoglobin increased more than during the control week.

It is suggested that underwater water-jet massage in connection with intense strength/power training increases the release of proteins from muscle tissue into the blood and enhances the maintenance of neuro-muscular performance capacity.

Author Address: Research Institute for Olympic Sports, Jyväskylä, Finland.

Cryotherapy in sports medicine.

Swenson C, Swärd L, Karlsson J
Scand J Med Sci Sports 1996 Aug 6:4 193-200

The use of cryotherapy, i.e. the application of cold for the treatment of injury or disease, is widespread in sports medicine today. It is an established method when treating acute soft tissue injuries, but there is a discrepancy between the scientific basis for cryotherapy and clinical studies. Various methods such as ice packs, ice towels, ice massage, gel packs, refrigerant gases and inflatable splints can be used. Cold is also used to reduce the recovery time as part of the rehabilitation programme both after acute injuries and in the treatment of chronic injuries. Cryotherapy has also been shown to reduce pain effectively in the post-operative period after reconstructive surgery of the joints. Both superficial and deep temperature changes depend on the method of application, initial temperature and application time. The physiological and biological effects are due to the reduction in temperature in the various tissues, together with the neuromuscular action and relaxation of the muscles produced by the application of cold. Cold increases the pain threshold, the viscosity and the plastic deformation of the tissues but decreases the motor performance. The application of cold has also been found to decrease the inflammatory reaction in an experimental situation. Cold appears to be effective and harmless and few complications or side-effects after the use of cold therapy are reported. Prolonged application at very low temperatures should, however, be avoided as this may cause serious side-effects, such as frost-bite and nerve injuries. Practical applications, indications and contraindications are discussed.
Author Address: Department of Orthopaedics, Ostra University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.

Can Med Assoc J 1980 Jan 26;122(2):189-91

Relief of dental pain by ice massage of the hand

Melzack R, Guite S, Gonshor A

Ice massage decreased the intensity of the dental pain by 50% or more in the
majority of patients. Furthermore, the pain reductions produced by ice
massage were significantly larger than those produced by tactile massage
alone or with explicit suggestion. The results indicate that ice massage has
pain-reducing effects comparable to those of transcutaneous electrical
stimulation and acupuncture.

Pain 1980 Oct;9(2):209-17

Ice massage and transcutaneous electrical stimulation: comparison of
treatment for low-back pain.

Melzack R, Jeans ME, Stratford JG, Monks RC

The results indicate that ice massage is an effective therapeutic tool, and
appears to be more effective than TES for some patients. It may also serve as
an additional sensory-modulation method to alternate with TES to overcome
adaptation effects







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