You have undoubtedly experienced delayed onset muscle soreness after engaging in more physical activity than your body was used to. In the fitness and achletic world, this form of misery is called DOMS for short and is a well-known conseguence of excessive, unfamiliar, or intensive exercise movements. Plain and simple: overdoing it.

There is no known treatment that reduces the recovery time frame, but massage, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture have a reputation for reducing the pain. DOMS involves acute inflammation in the overtaxed muscles and develops in twenty-four to forty-eight hours. It can persist for well over ninety-six hours.

A study was set up using DOMS as a model to test the impact of Earth. ing on acute inflammation. Eight healthy males, ages twenty to twenty. three, were put through a similar routine of toe raises while carrying a barbell on their shoulders equal to a third of their body weight. The intense exercise was designed to create tissue injury and pronounced muscle soreness in the calves. In the experiment, each participant was exercised individually on a Monday morning and then monitored for the rest of the week while following a similar eating, sleeping, and living schedule in a hotel. For comparison, the group was divided in half. The men were either actually grounded or sham-grounded throughout the entire week–day and night.

The participants were objectively analyzed in a variety of ways, including through blood draw, MRI, and MRS (magnetic resonance spec-troscopy) of the injured tissue. They were also tested daily for pain tolerance at the site of soreness the calves. A blood pressure cuff was placed around their right gastrocnemius muscle (the big muscle at the back of the lower leg) and slowly inflated until the point of acute discomfort.The participants also provided subjective responses related to sleep, mood, and muscle soreness.

When inflammation occurs, white blood cells scurry into action.Their numbers increase. Among the ungrounded men, there was an expected, dramatic increase in white blood cells at the stage when DOMS is known to reach its peak and greater perception of pain . This result indicates a typical heightened inflammatory response. By comparison, the grounded group experienced a slight decrease in the white blood cell response, indicating almost no inflammation and, for the first time ever documented, a shorter recovery time. At twenty-four, forty-eight, and seventy-two hours after exercise, the white blood count differences between the two groups were 10, 17, and 18 percent.

The researchers looked at a total of forty-eight well-established markers of acute inflammation, DOMS, and pain. In thirty of these markers, a consistent pattern of differences emerged during the testing period.

The study, also published in 2010 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, was conducted under the supervision of Dick Brown, Ph.D., a well-known Oregon exercise physiologist and trainer of elite athletes.

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