Alternative treatments for muscle injury: massage, cryotherapy, and hyperbaric oxygen
- 1.4k Downloads
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.
KeywordsMuscle 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
- 4.Tiidus PM. Skeletal muscle damage and repair. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics Pub; 2007.Google Scholar
- 5.Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin RL. Complementary and alternative medicine use among adults and children: United States, 2007. Natl Health Stat Rep. 2008;12:1–23.Google Scholar
- 6.Tiidus PM. Massage Therapy in Tiidus PM ed. Skeletal muscle damage and repair. Human Kinetics Pub. Champaign IL. 2007 pp. 195–202Google Scholar
- 19.•Crane JD, Ogborn DI, Cupido C, Melov S, Hubbard A, Bourgeois JM, et al. Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage. Sci Trans Med. 2012;4:119ra13. Interesting study which highlights some of the effects massage may have on inflammatory signaling in human muscle.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 24.••Takagi R, Fujita N, Arakawa T, Kawada S, Ishii N, Miki A. Influence of icing on muscle regeneration after crush injury to skeletal muscle in rats. J Appl Physiol. 2011;110:382–8. Important study which highlights the potential longer term negative influence of cryotherapy on muscle regeneration following crush injury.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 27.Bennett MH, Best TM, Babul-Wellar S, Taunton JE. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for delayed muscle soreness and closed soft tissue injury. Cochrane Rev. 2005;4:CD004713.Google Scholar
- 30.Tiidus PM. Hyperbaric oxygen and drug therapies. In: Tiidus PM, editor. Skeletal muscle damage and repair. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics Pub; 2007. p. 257–61.Google Scholar
- 33.••Horie M, Enomoto M, Shimoda M, Okawa A, Miyakawa S, Yagishita K. Enhancement of satellite cell differentiation and functional recovery in injured skeletal muscle by hyperbaric oxygen treatment. J Appl Physiol. 2014;116:149–55. Important recent study which highlights the potential enhancing effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for enhancing muscle satellite cell responses and recovery following injury.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 35.Yamada N, Toyoda I, Doi T, Kumada K, Kato H, Yoshida S, Shirai K, Kanda N, Ogura S. Hyperbaric oxygenation therapy for crush injuries reduces the risk of complications: research report. 2014;41:283–289Google Scholar