Vibration massage helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and speeds recovery

Vibration massage helps reduce post exercise soreness and speed recovery


Clinical trials show us that using vibration massage significantly reduces post exercise soreness and speeds recovery. This is something one can easily do themselves with a person use massager. In this article we will show you the best way to do this.


Exercise induced muscle damage
What the trials found
Why it works
Using vibration massage
Summary of the trials

Exercise induced muscle damage

Strenuous exercise causes microscopic damage to your muscles, and is accompanied by a build up of various chemicals including products from tissue breakdown. This produces soreness and reduced muscular performance.

Delayed Onset Muscle Pain (DOMS)

The soreness resulting from exercise induced muscle damage is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It typically occurs 24-48 hours after the exercise.

Reduced muscular performance

Exercise induced muscle damage typically in decreased range of motion and reduced functional strength. To illustrate this, some of the trials discussed later measured the number of repetitions of an exercise a person could normally do, then found that this number was reduced during the recovery period.

DOMS: journal article
This article is based upon the findings of several clinical trials

What the trials found

The trials all used vibration ranging from 30-60hz (discussed later) applied directly to the muscles. Some used the vibration before exercising to prepare the muscles. Some used the vibration after exercise and during the recovery phase.


All trials found that using vibration significantly reduced post exercise soreness

Blood chemicals

Those that measured the levels of the unwanted chemicals in the blood found that they were reduced by vibration massage.


As mentioned before, one typically gets a reduction in muscle performance during the recovery phase, and this can be measured by the number of repetitions of an exercise. Vibration massage reduced the decrease in performance, and shortened the time needed to be able to do the normal amount.

Before or after

Vibration massage had all these effects whether it was used before or after the exercise.

The scientifically proven effects of vibration massage
Summary of the scientifically proven effects of vibration massage

Why it works

This diagram summarises the scientifically proven effects of vibration massage It is assumed that vibration massage helps by:

  • relaxing the muscles
  • increasing blood flow, and
  • increasing healing
Using vibration massage on thigh
Simply hold the massager on the muscle and let the vibrations penetrate

Using vibration massage

Please note that this is for general information only. Please discuss your specific needs with a professional familiar with your needs.

Using a massager

You will find a link to our instructions below, but basically, using a vibration massager is very simple. You place the massager head on the part to be massaged and let the vibrations soak on. There is no need to move the massager or press the head in. The following instructions are for when using one of our General Purpose Massagers

  • The trials show that it works using either before or after exercise. If you have your own massager we recommend you apply the massage before, after, and each day during recovery.
  • The trials used frequencies from 30-60 hz. This is about 75% on our General Purpose Massagers.
  • We recommend applying to the centre of each muscle for about 30 seconds.

Download our usage guide

Summary of the trials

First trial (1)⁠

In this trial one third of participants had no treatment, one third were given conventional massage, while the third group had their muscle massaged before exercise using a vibrating massager set at 50Hz. The results showed that both conventional massage and the vibration massage resulted in significantly lower DOMS, with those receiving vibration massage recovering faster than those who received conventional massage. They also showed that the group receiving the vibration massage had significantly less residual Lactic Acid.

Second trial (2)⁠

In this trial one group received vibration massage of 50Hz to the centre of the muscle, while the comparison group received no vibration. There was a significant decrease in the soreness of those who received vibration when compared to those who received none. Muscles showed a decrease in maximum contraction strength post exercise for both groups, but this decrease was less in those who received vibration.

Third trial (3)⁠

In this trial one group received a vibration massage of 30-50Hz whole the comparison group received no vibration. The group receiving vibration experienced a significantly lower level of pain.

Fourth trial (4)⁠

In this trial one group received vibration massage at 40 Hz while the comparison group received no vibration. Those receiving the vibration experienced significantly less pain over 24-120 hours post exercise.

Fifth trial (5)⁠
This trial one group was treated with a vibration pad giving 30-65Hz, for 30 minutes starting 30 minuted after exercising then on days 1,2 3 and 4. From days 2-5 soreness of those receiving the vibration was 18-30% less than those who did not, with soreness disappearing altogether earlier.

Sixth Trial (6)⁠

It was shown that the application of 50-60 Hz vibration to muscles either prior to exercise or after exercise results in considerably less pain and the presence of considerably less of the resultant blood born chemicals

Literature review articles

Review One (7)⁠

“Vibration is an effective modality in the field of rehabilitation. Vibration therapy improves muscular strength, power development and kinesthetic awareness, increased flexibility, motor unit synchronisation. Various researches which shows effectiveness of vibration therapy in management of DOMS”

Review Two (8)⁠

“Vibration therapy before eccentric exercise may prevent and control DOMS”

16. DrGraeme. The presence and treatment of myofascial trigger points in chronic shoulder pain [Internet]. 2018. Available from:

17. McDonagh D, Wilson L, Haslam C, Weightman D. Good vibrations: Do electrical therapeutic massagers work? Ergonomics. 2005;


1. Shaqufla I, To compare the effect of vibration therapy and massage in prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) [Internet]. Vol. 8, Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2014. p. 133–6. Available from:

2. Bakhtiary AH, Safavi-Farokhi Z, Aminian-Far A. Influence of vibration on delayed onset of muscle soreness following eccentric exercise. Br J Sports Med. 2007;41(3):145–8.

3. Kamandani R, Ghazalian F, Ebrahim K, Ghassembaglou N, Shiri Piraghaj M, Khorram A. The Effect of Acute Vibration Training on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in Young Non-Athlete Women. Heal Scope. 2015;

4. Broadbent S, Rousseau JJ, Thorp RM, Choate SL, Jackson FS, Rowlands DS. Vibration therapy reduces plasma IL6 and muscle soreness after downhill running. Br J Sports Med. 2010;44(12):888–94.

_5. Lau WY, Nosaka K. Effect of vibration treatment on symptoms associated with eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2011; _

6. Kim J-Y, Kang D-H, Lee J-H, O S-M, Jeon J-K. The effects of pre-exercise vibration stimulation on the exercise-induced muscle damage. J Phys Ther Sci. 2017;29(1):119–22.

7. Veqar Z, Imtiyaz S. Vibration therapy in management of delayed onset muscle soreness. J Clin Diagnostic Res. 2014;8(6):10–3.

8. Sethi V. Literature review of management of delayed onset muscle soreness (doms). Int J Biol Med Res. 2012;3(1):1469–75.

9. Poenaru D, Cinteza D, Petrusca I, Cioc L, Dumitrascu D. Local Application of Vibration in Motor Rehabilitation - Scientific and Practical Considerations. Maedica (Buchar) [Internet]. 2016;11(3):227–31. Available from:

10. Bakhtiary AH, Fatemi E, Khalili MA, Ghorbani R. Localised application of vibration improves passive knee extension in women with apparent reduced hamstring extensibility: A randomised trial. J Physiother. 2011;

11. Atha J, Ph D, Wheatley DW, Sc B. JOINT MOBILITY CHANGES DUE TO LOW FREQUENCY VIBRATION AND STRETCHING EXERCISE * ( b ) Astride standing : head pressing to alternate knees ( d ) Rear lunge , with toe rest : calf and leg stretching. October. 1974;26–35.

12. Maloney-Hinds C, Petrofsky JS, Zimmerman G. The effect of 30 Hz vs. 50 Hz passive vibration and duration of vibration on skin blood flow in the arm. Med Sci Monit [Internet]. 2008;14(3):CR112-6. Available from:

13. Germann D, El Bouse A, Shnier J, Abdelkader N, Kazemi M, Germann D, et al. Effects of local vibration therapy on various performance parameters: a narrative literature review. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2018;62(3).
14. Gregoletto D, Martínez CMC. Effects of spinal manipulation in patients with mechanical neck pain. Coluna/ Columna. 2014;13(4):269–74.

15. MEI R, XU Y, LI Q. Experimental Study on Mechanical Vibration Massage for Treatment of Brachial Plexus Injury in Rats. J Tradit Chinese Med. 2010;

We are continually adding more information on research and uses. Subscribe below to have us email them to you "hot off the press".

Dr Graeme

About Dr Graeme

Several years ago Dr Graeme, a Chiropractor practicing in Victoria, Australia was looking for a serious hand held massager his patients could use at home to get the extra quality massage they needed. The ones he found in the shops and on-line for home use looked nice but were not serious, and... read more

Other Articles You May Like

Functional rehabilitation

As practitioners we are continually dealing with dysfunctional musculoskeletal systems. Typically dysfunction develops and is perpetuated... Read Article  

Trigger point basics: what they are, what they do, and how to treat them

Trigger points are those tender lumps in muscles that therapists find. This article covers what they are, what they do, and how they are... Read Article