Individuals considered as the predominant cause despite the

Individuals who participate in occasional and intense
physical activity usually experience muscle soreness after exercise (Shaw,
Shaw, & Brown, 2009). This is more apparent if the exercise volume
increases suddenly (Ali et al., 2012; Barros Galvão et al., 2014; Best et al.,
2008; Delextrat et al., 2013). Soreness occurs within 24 h after activity,
peaks at 24-48 h, and abates within 5-7 days post-activity, therefore this
phenomenon is commonly termed as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) (Armstrong,
1984; Miles & Clarkson, 1994; Clarkson & Sayers, 1999; Stauber, 1996). DOMS
is indubitably one of the symptoms of muscle damage induced by eccentric
exercise which is widely known to cause more severe microinjury of the muscle
fibers and connective tissues than isometric and concentric contractions, but
muscle damage is not necessarily indicated (Byrnes & Clarkson, 1986;
Cheung, Hume & Maxwell, 2003; Ebbeling & Clarkson, 1989; Nosaka, Newton,
& Sacco, 2002). Stiffness, tenderness and ache are felt in the sore muscles
notably after palpitation or movement, but medical attention is rarely needed
for these common symptoms (Armstrong, 1984; Clarkson, 1999). Damaged tissues
(myofibrils and connective tissues) are considered as the predominant cause despite
the unclear exact reason for the development of DOMS (Huang et al., 2010; Jay
et al., 2014; Pournot et al., 2011). Some other causative factors of DOMS
namely lactic acid, muscle spasm, in?ammation, enzyme ef?ux, and free radicals have
been proposed by Cheung et al. (2003) and Close et al. (2005).

DOMS often negatively
influences the implementation of physical activities and may impede athletic
performance (Pinar et al., 2012; Proske & Morgan, 2001; Sandesara et al.,
2014). For instance, it has been revealed by previous research that DOMS can result
in reduced range of motion (ROM) and a decline in muscle force output by nearly
50 per cent (Andersen et al., 2013; Barros Galvão et al., 2014; Best et al.,
2008). Full recovery of muscle strength loss may require up to two weeks’ time (Cleak
& Eston, 1992; Newham et al., 1987).

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A variety of strategies,
either for prevention or treatment of DOMS, have been examined by researchers
with differing and sometimes conflicting results. They include cryotherapy
(Gulick & Kimura, 1996), cold water immersion and/or compression, non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (Donnelly, Maughan, & Whiting, 2000), high doses of
vitamins E and C, pre- and post- exercise stretching (Johansson et al.,1999),
light exercise (Saxton & Donnelly, 1995), ultrasound (Craig et al., 1999),
compression garments (Duffield et al., 2008), acupuncture (Barlas et al., 2000),
electromagnetism (Zhang, Clement, & Taunton, 2000), prior eccentric
exercise (Cleary et al., 2002), warm-up vibration, and topical analgesics
(Gulick et al., 1996). It may be that massage is an alternative modus operandi
that is prevalent and probably effective for treating DOMS (Ernst, 1998).

Massage has widely and
frequently been utilized as a palliative therapy for relaxation and
rehabilitation for many years all over the world. It is unharmful, uncomplicated
to administer, and has no undesired side-effects (Willems, Hale, & Wilkinson,
2009). There are varied types of massage today and classic Western massage,
also known as Swedish massage, is the most widespread (Weerapong, Hume, &
Kolt, 2005). Massage is often advocated by athletic coaches and therapists to
prevent or mitigate DOMS after sporting activities despite uncertain
physiological effects of massage on facilitation of muscle recovery (Cheung,
Hume, & Maxwell, 2003; Tiidus, 1997; Ernst, 1998; Tiidus, 1999). Recently,
it is much more common for athletes and researchers alike to use massage as an
attempt to lessen DOMS (Andersen et al., 2013; Delextrat et al., 2013).

Sports massage is found
on the classic Swedish massage and broadly employed for athletes’
rehabilitation during the process of physical training, warm-up for training or
competition, to assist recovery, alleviate muscle soreness, and enhance sports
performance. (Boguszewski et al., 2015; Brummitt, 2008; Cafarelli & Flint,
1992; Drust et al., 2003; Hemmings et al., 2000). It is carried out manually using
techniques specifically for a given sport and contingent on the training stage
(Benjamin & Lamp, 2005). Overtraining can cause the onset of pathologies
and one of the objectives of sports massage is to prevent this ubiquitous problem
in competitive sport (Boguszewski et al., 2015). It can also provide exogenous
force which has a possibility to further expedite muscle curing and return to
activity (Hart, Swanik, & Tierney, 2005). Sports massage can be
incorporated with some other physical therapy treatments such as water and salt
baths, ultrasound and light therapies, sauna paraffin compresses, and
diadynamic currents (Benjamin & Lamp, 2005; Bompa & Haff, 2009). Different
massage practitioners make use of varied massage techniques and protocols, but
all of them have akin objectives. The two most commonly used techniques are
effleurage and petrissage (Tiidus, 1997).