Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Study Spotlight: Physical Methods of Lymphatic Drainage on Post Exercise Recovery of MMA Athletes

By: Joel Luedke

To train hard you have to recover hard.  That being said what is the best method to recovery?  That question isn't so easy to answer.  It is very case dependent and really you have to look at the goal you are wishing to accomplish and then find the medium that works best for that desired goal.  You also have to take into account the personal feeling each person has with recovery. 

This study took a look at a couple different recovery techniques and how the affected the forearms off MMA guys.  That may not seem like it applies to you but please read on.

What They Did:
Researchers looked at 80 MMA athletes and split them into four groups.  Three of those groups received some type of physical method of recovery (see below) and one group received a sham treatment as the 'control' group. Researchers looked at blood flow velocity, maximal strength of the forearm muscles, muscle tissue tension, pain threshold, blood lactate concentration and activity of creatine kinase at rest, after muscle fatigue, 20 minutes post, as well as 24 and 48 hour after the intervention.
Researchers used a standard forearm fatiguing test to create forearm fatigue across the 80 athletes (please reference study for full details)
Treatment Groups:

  • Manual lymph drainage of moving the lymph from the forearm back to the core of the body in order to help with elimination.
  • Electro-stimulation with the 'Bodyflow' device using electrodes distributed along the venous and lymph flow.
  • Deep oscillation using a 5cm head (90+/- 10 Hz for 18 minutes and 50+/- Hz for last 2 minutes)

What They Found:
What the researchers found that all of the physical methods of lymphatic drainage, whether using manual, electro-stimulation or deep oscillation there was an improvement in poster exercise regeneration of the forearm muscles of the MMA athletes. Specific effects varied deepening on the exact treatment but all showed improvements in recovery when compared to the control group.

What It All Means:
Not all of us are MMA fighters and not all of our forearms get locked up in our daily lives but at the risk of making assumptions not found in evidence I think what the researchers did find is promising.  It shows that the more active you are when it comes your recover and working to get the muscles to contract in whatever manner that may be can help with many areas of recovery.  

What that doesn't mean is just sitting in a cold tub, putting a bag of ice on or just laying around after a tough workout or competition is enough to get your ready for the next day.  You should get active and get your body to start the process on its own and optimize for the best response.  Take advantage of it.

Resources: Zebrowska, Aleksandra: Effect of Physical Methods of Lymphatic Drainage on Postexercise Recovery of Mixed Martial Arts Athletes.

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