Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Exercise Science Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Valerie Rich

Commitee Members

Arthur Miller, James Laskin


modalities, Myotonometer, soft tissue deformation


University of Montana


Yahvah, Adrian, MS, May 2008 Major Exercise Science The Effects of Sports Massage and superficial Heat on Resting Muscle and Connective Tissue Stiffness. Chairperson: Dr. Valerie Rich Introduction: Massage is promoted to enhance sports performance by increasing tissue extensibility, increasing circulation and decreasing pain from previous injury or strenuous competition. The use of massage for this purpose continues to be widespread despite the lack of evidence supporting any physiological benefit. Objective: The goal of this study was to determine the effect of sports massage, superficial heat, and no treatment on resting muscle stiffness in 14 college level athletes. Methods: The trials consisted of a 10 minute session of 3 specific sports massage techniques, 10 minutes of superficial hot pack application, or 10 minutes of no treatment. Myotonometer measurements were taken pre and post for each trial. A Pre and Post Treatment Tightness Questionnaire was administered prior to and after each trial to assess perceived hamstring tightness and a single leg vertical jump test was used to assess performance after each treatment. Skin temperature was collected each minute for all trials. Analysis: All data was analyzed using repeated measures MANOVA with bonferroni correction when appropriate. There were significant differences in resting muscle and connective tissue stiffness in the sports massage group pre to post at forces 1.75 kg, and 2.00 kg( p=.004,p=.006) and significant interaction between heat and sports massage at 1.75 kg and 2.00 kg(p=.006, p=.008) There were no significant differences for vertical jump testing. The Pre and Post Treatment Tightness Questionnaire found that subjects preferred heat and sports massage for increasing range of motion and looseness but did not feel that either treatment increased strength or power of hamstrings. Discussion: Resting muscle and connective tissue stiffness significantly differed after superficial heat compared to sports massage in treatment leg. Sports massage significantly decreased muscle stiffness compared to superficial heat. Pre and Post Treatment Tightness questionnaire provide no support for perceived or functional improvements as a result of treatments. Keywords: Myotonometer, modalities, soft tissue deformation

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© Copyright 2008 Adrian A. Yahvah