How Massage Heals Sore Muscles July 11, 2012 13:16
A massage after vigorous exercise unquestionably feels good, and it seems to reduce pain and help muscles recover. Many people — both athletes and health professionals – have long contended it eases inflammation, improves blood flow and reduces muscle tightness.
Vigorous exercise causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, leading to an immune reaction — inflammation — as the body gets to work repairing the injured cells.
They found that massage reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair. “The bottom line is that there appears to be a suppression of pathways in inflammation and an increase in mitochondrial biogenesis,” helping the muscle adapt to the demands of increased exercise, said the senior author, Dr. Mark A. Tarnopolsky.
“With massage, you can have your cake and eat it too—massage can suppress inflammation and actually enhance cell recovery.”
“This is important research, because it is the first to show that massage can reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines which may be involved in pain,” said Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School. She was not involved in the study. “We have known from many studies that pain can be reduced by massage based on self-report, but this is the first demonstration that the pain-related pro-inflammatory cytokines can be reduced.” she said.
Dr. Tarnopolsky suggests that, in the long run, a professional massage may even be a better bargain than a pill. “If someone says “This is free and it might make you feel better, but it may slow down your recovery, do you still want it?” he asked. “Or would you rather spend the bucks for a post-exercise massage that also might enhance your recovery?”
Excerpts from The New York Times Article, February 6, 2012
I was encouraged to read that scientific evidence has now proven that massage therapy works! My own experience as a massage therapist has brought me to the same conclusion. Infact, I chose to study Massage therapy because I saw so many benefits linked to massage. Today I see many athletes, and sports enthusiasts. Sore muscles, sprains, pulled back, sore neck, all seem to be part of sports as well as life. Massage definitely has a positive impact on our muscle recovery. For more information about massage therapy please click Massage Therapy South Miami
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