Everyone knows a massage feels absolutely divine after vigorous exercise and can reduce pain and help muscles recover. Massage eases inflammation, improves blood flow and improves muscle elasticity, but there is more information now on what happens when a massage therapist massages someone’s sore or hurt muscles:
There was a study published in the Feb 1. Issue of Science Translated Medicine that required subjects to exercise to exhaustion and undergo five surgical incisions in their legs for analysis of the muscle tissue.
In the first session, one of each subjects’ legs was biopsied while they were at rest. Second session, they had them exercise vigorously on an exercise bike until they could go no further. Then, masseurs massaged one of the subjects’ thighs for 10 minutes, biopsied the massaged leg immediately thereafter, and then rested. In this study, they were comparing the results of a massaged leg vs. the other that was left to rest. After two and a half hours, a third biopsy was done to track the progress of the muscles’ injury and repair.
Exercise naturally causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, which causes slight inflammation, an immune system reaction, and regrowth of muscle cells. This is how muscles grow and get stronger, by literally tearing themselves apart.
Researches analyzed the tissue form the massaged and unmassaged legs and found that massage reduced the presence of cytokines, a compound primarily responsible for inflammation. They also found that massage stimulated the mitochondria within the cells and helped the muscle heal and repair faster!
The general results of the study proved that massages can suppress inflammation and enhance cell recovery. This presents evidence that massage therapy is an alternative to ‘popping an Aspirin’ at the first sign of muscle soreness or other drug-related pain relief options.
If you have muscle pain or are interested in the health benefits of massage described above, reach out to our team today, we would love to help you heal!
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