Psychological and immunological effects of training and massage in amateur boxing
A series of field based investigations were undertaken to establish the mood state and salivary immunoglobulin-A (S-IgA) response to different training loads in amateur boxing. Mood states were initially monitored via the Profile of Mood States (McNair, Lorr & Droppleman, 1971) and thereafter through the development of a boxing specific, shortened version. S-IgA was analysed through enzyme-linked irnmunosorbent assays. Results ofthe early investigations showed mood disturbances in fatigue, vigor, tension and anger with intensified training. Immunological data showed S-IgA to significantly decrease following interval training, with the principal factor in the suppression being a reduction in saliva flow rates. Boxers were seen to have unusually low saliva flow rates compared to sedentary individuals and this was linked to the weight-classified nature of the sport. There was no relationship found between psychological and immunological measures. Subsequent investigations focused on the recovery process from amateur boxing. Massage was compared with control conditions as a post training recovery intervention. Results showed massage to induce psychological regeneration in the form of decreased perceptions of fatigue and increased recovery. Massage did not affect saliva flow rates post training. A final laboratory based investigation documented the effects of massage on psychological regeneration, physiological recovery and repeated amateur boxing performance on a boxing ergometer. Massage was seen to promote psychological regeneration, but did not affect blood lactate clearance or subsequent performance when compared with a no-massage condition. It was concluded that amateur boxing training can result in detrimental psychological and immunological effects. It was argued that the role of passive recovery strategies in sport are still poorly understood and researched, but that preliminary support could be given to the vast amount of anecdotal evidence suggesting positive psychological effects of massage as a regeneration strategy. The use of massage for physiological recovery and as a performance enhancement modality was questioned.