Alternative treatments for muscle injury: massage, cryotherapy, and hyperbaric oxygen

  • Peter M. TiidusEmail author
Muscle Injuries (SJ McNeill Ingham, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Muscle Injuries


Current evidence suggests that popular alternative therapies such as massage, cryotherapy, and hyperbaric oxygen exposure as currently practiced on humans have little effect on recovery from minor muscle damage such as induced by exercise. While further research is still needed, hyperbaric oxygen exposure shows clear promise for potentially being a successful adjunct treatment for enhancing muscle repair and recovery from more severe crush on contusion injury in humans. Cryotherapy or icing, as currently practiced, will not likely be successful in cooling muscle sufficiently to have any significant influence on muscle repair regardless of the degree of injury. However, based on studies in animal models, it may be that if sufficient muscle cooling could be achieved in humans, it could actually delay recovery and increase muscle scarring following significant muscle damage. Conclusions about the effectiveness of massage on influencing muscle recovery from more severe injury cannot yet be made due to a lack of experimental evidence with a more significant muscle damage model.


Muscle damage Massage Cryotherapy Hyperbaric oxygen Muscle repair 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Peter M. Tiidus declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Health Sciences Program & Department of KinesiologyWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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