Researchers are learning more and more about how massage has a large role in the healing process. You don’t have to be a doctor to know a massage after intense exercise feels good, and seems to reduce pain and help muscles recover. People from all walks of life from athletes to health professionals have believed in the benefits of massage. At the core of massage is an effort to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow and lengthen soft tissue. is a major aspect of massage.
Now researchers have found what happens to muscles when a masseur goes to work on them.
As published in the February 1st issue of Science Translational Medicine doctors found 11 young men and had them exercise to exhaustion and undergo five incisions in their legs in order to obtain muscle tissue for analysis.
On a first visit, they biopsied one leg of each subject at rest. At a second session, they had them vigorously exercise on a stationary bicycle for more than an hour until they could go no further. Then they massaged one thigh of each subject for 10 minutes, leaving the other to recover on its own. Immediately after the massage, they biopsied the thigh muscle in each leg again. After allowing another two-and-a-half hours of rest, they did a third biopsy to track the process of muscle injury and repair.
Vigorous exercise causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, leading to an immune reaction — inflammation — as the body gets to work repairing the injured cells. So the researchers screened the tissue from the massaged and unmassaged legs to compare their repair processes, and find out what difference massage would make.
Researchers found that massage reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses 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.
“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. “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.” said Tiffany Field.
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 50 bucks for a post-exercise massage that also might enhance your recovery?”
You don’t hear that every day… A Dr. telling you that a massage will work better then a pill. Our customers have known this for a long time. I guess its time science caught up with us here at Structura Body Therapies.
Here at Structura Body Therapies we are concerned with the overall performance of the body and understand the importance of all areas of health and massage therapy. We are trained in Myofascial Release and look forward to introducing this type of treatment to you if it is the best form needed. We treat patients with all types of needs from automobile accident related injuries to sports performance work.
Please contact us today for any information needed related to massage or structural integration. call us at 801-897-8711