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Massage therapy restores peripheral vascular function following exertion
Franklin NC, Ali MM, Robinson AT, Norkeviciute E, Phillips SA
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2014 Jun;95(6):1127-1134
clinical trial
4/10 [Eligibility criteria: No; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: No; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: No; Adequate follow-up: No; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

OBJECTIVE: To determine if lower extremity exercise-induced muscle injury (EMI) reduces vascular endothelial function of the upper extremity and if massage therapy (MT) improves peripheral vascular function after EMI. DESIGN: Randomized, blinded trial with evaluations at 90 minutes, 24 hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours. SETTING: Clinical research center at an academic medical center and laboratory PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-six sedentary young adults were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) EMI+MT (n = 15; mean age +/- standard error (SE) 26.6 +/- 0.3), (2) EMI only (n = 10; mean age +/- SE 23.6 +/- 0.4), and (3) MT only (n = 11; mean age +/- SE 25.5 +/- 0.4). INTERVENTION: Participants were assigned to either EMI only (a single bout of bilateral, eccentric leg-press exercise), MT only (30-minute lower extremity massage using Swedish technique), or EMI+MT. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) was determined by ultrasound at each time point. Nitroglycerin-induced dilation was also assessed (NTG; 0.4 mg). RESULTS: Brachial FMD increased from baseline in the EMI+MT group and the MT only group (7.38 +/- 0.18 to 9.02 +/- 0.28%, p < 0.05 and 7.77 +/- 0.25 to 10.20 +/- 0.22%, p < 0.05, respectively) at 90 minutes remaining elevated until 72 hrs. In the EMI only group FMD was reduced from baseline at 24 and 48 hrs (7.78 +/- 0.14 to 6.75 +/- 0.11%, p < 0.05 and 6.53 +/- 0.11, p < 0.05, respectively) returning to baseline after 72 hrs. Dilations to NTG were similar over time. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that MT attenuates impairment of upper extremity endothelial function resulting from lower extremity EMI in sedentary young adults.

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