Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences


The effects of massage on psychological affect and on running-effort were studied in 30 women (M age = 20.83 yrs, SD = 1.23), from the English East Midlands, who were tested in two experimental test sessions, involving "pre-event massage" and flexibility (counterbalanced sessions), and a subsequent bout of exercise at self-selected workload. In the massage session the participants received massage for 10 min that was composed of light, rapid strokes to the legs and to the back by a qualified massage therapist. The flexibility session involved active stretching exercises for 10 min; both test sessions were followed by 20 min of running (or jogging). All participants completed two affect-measuring questionnaires pre- and post-exercise. Their perceived exertion and heart rates were recorded during the run. Results obtained by using repeated measures MANOVA and univariate ANOVAs indicated that massage enhanced positive affect (p < .05), lowered self-reported perceptions of physical symptoms (p < .05), and also decreased perceived physical effort (p < .05). These findings confirm the positive, and consequently motivational, impact of a brief massage session on exercise behavior.