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Latest research summaries

Acute effects of stretching on maximal muscle strength and functional performance: A systematic review of Japanese-language randomised controlled trials

Mine, K., Nakayama, T., Milanese, S., & Grimmer, K. (2016). Acute effects of stretching on maximal muscle strength and functional performance: A systematic review of Japanese-language randomised controlled trials. Manual Therapy, 21, 54–62.

This systematic review evaluates the effect of stretching on maximal strength and functional performance. 7 randomized controlled trials, all of which are written in Japanese, are included in the review. The included studies encompassed 227 participants and 20 types of interventions. Due to the low quality of studies and because all the studies were designed very differently, with different types of outcome measurements and interventions, it was difficult to make any firm conclusions on this topic and it was not possible to conduct a statistical analysis (meta-analysis) on the results.

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Massage and Performance Recovery: A Meta-Analytical Review.

Poppendieck, W., Wegmann, M., Ferrauti, A., Kellmann, M., Pfeiffer, M., & Meyer, T. (2016). Massage and Performance Recovery: A Meta-Analytical Review. Sports Medicine, 46(2), 183–204.

This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluates the effect of post-exercise massage and performance recovery in athletes. 22 randomized controlled trials are included in the review. 5 of the included studies used automated massage such as vibration, and the other 17 used manual massage. Findings indicate that although the research on massage for recovery is scarce, there is some evidence that massage is effective for: short interventions (less than 10 minutes), intensive mixed exercise, and for untrained subjects.

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An ethical approach to health promotion in physiotherapy practice.

Delany, C., Fryer, C., & van Kessel, G. (2015). An ethical approach to health promotion in physiotherapy practice. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 26(3), 255–262.

This paper discusses how physiotherapists, whom are traditionally trained to focus on the individual, can broaden their practice to include health promotion strategies. The article discusses potential harms to a health promotion approach and suggests four strategies to use when using a health promotion approach in the clinical setting.

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Stem cells, angiogenesis and muscle healing: a potential role in massage therapies?

Best, T. M., Gharaibeh, B., & Huard, J. (2013). Stem cells, angiogenesis and muscle healing: a potential role in massage therapies? British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47(9), 556–60.

This review paper explores mechanisms by which massage-based therapies can help improve muscle function and recovery from intense exercise. The paper describes the skeletal muscle injury and healing process and several possible mechanisms of action. There are several findings included in the article, including research on massage therapy dosage and scheduling and specific mechanism pathways (see full text for details). Some of the article language is very technical.

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Investigating the mechanisms of massage efficacy: the role of mechanical immunomodulation.

Waters-Banker, C., Dupont-Versteegden, E. E., Kitzman, P. H., & Butterfield, T. A. (2014). Investigating the mechanisms of massage efficacy: the role of mechanical immunomodulation. Journal of Athletic Training, 49(2), 266–73“.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3975781/.

This literature review explores the mechanisms by which massage therapy activates potentially beneficial immunomodulatory pathways, which could potentially decrease secondary injury, nerve sensitization, collateral sprouting, increase recovery from damage, and reduce/prevent pain. The article covers the following topics: the inflammatory response to muscle injury, the afferent nerve response to muscle injury, the physiologic effects of mechanotransduction, and the immunomodulatory effects of massage. The authors conclude that much more research in this area is required to identify specific signaling pathways and application techniques to provide further recommendations.

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