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Robert Weinberg, Allen Jackson, and Kathleen Kolodny

The purpose of the present investigation was to assess the relationship between exercise, massage, and positive mood enhancement. Subjects were students in physical education classes including swimming, jogging, tennis, and racquetball, with each separate activity comprising a level of the primary independent treatment variable. In addition, subjects from other classes made up a control rest condition and a massage treatment condition resulting in a one-way design. All subjects completed the profile of mood states, state anxiety, and an activation checklist just prior to and immediately after 30 minutes of activity. Instructors in the classes agreed not to schedule any competitions between students but rather just let them play or exercise. Subjects in the control rest condition read or rested for 30 minutes, while in the massage treatment condition a certified massage therapist gave a 30-min Swedish massage. Results indicated that the running and massage conditions consistently produced positive mood enhancement with significant decreases in tension, confusion, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and anger while maintaining high levels of vigor, which is representative of positive mental health. None of the other experimental activity conditions significantly influenced the dependent variables. Practical applications of the use of massage both before and after competition and exercise are discussed, and future directions for research are offered.