2018 Volume 7 Issue 1 Pages 47-55
A randomized controlled trial was conducted to investigate the interactive influence of massage and exercise on health-related physical fitness in middle-aged and older adults. Thirty-eight healthy males aged 40 to 69 years were randomly assigned to one of three groups: an exercise and self-massage intervention group (S group, n = 13), exercise training only intervention group (T group, n = 13), or control group (C group, n = 12). Subjects in S group underwent structured manual self-massage comprising static stretching of the entire body and Oriental Medicine techniques such as manual massage and stimulation of acupuncture points (physical care). An exercise regimen for both S group and T group was comprised of group-based and home-based training, including resistance training of upper and lower limbs and abdominal muscles, endurance training, and plyometric training for 12 weeks. The major outcome measures were the 30-second chair-stand test (CS-30), vertical jump (VJ), shoulder horizontal adduction (SHA, muscle–strength test), 30-second sit-up test (SU-30), center of foot pressure (CoP), and the chair sit-and-reach test (CSR). The S group showed significantly greater post-intervention improvements (p < 0.05) in measures of CS-30 (+22%), VJ (+23%), SU-30 (+14%), locus length per unit area in CoP, with eyes closed (L/A) (-18%), and CSR (+44%). Whereas, the T group showed improvements in CS-30 (+11%), VJ (+20%), SHA (+15%), and L/A (-24%). The C group experienced no significant changes. There were no significant differences between the T and C groups. The S-group’s post-intervention CS-30 and VJ values were significantly higher than those of the C group (p < 0.05). A concurrent massage intervention (physical care) was shown to enhance exercise effects.