Massage has been used for years to move lactic acid out of muscle tissue to reduce pain and inflammation after workouts, but new research indicates that is not the reason massage works. Science Translation Medicine, Feb 2012 has reported on a study in which muscle biopsies were performed on individuals who had undergone strenuous exercise. The medical evaluations on these individuals who had massage therapy and those who didn’t had some surprising results.
Massage Therapy Findings
The massaged muscle tissue showed significantly lower amounts of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, a protein that causes inflammation. The biopsied tissue that had been massaged also showed increased enzymes that the biopsied, non-massaged tissue did not have.
The biopsies were repeated after 2.5 hours. The massaged muscle tissue showed a decrease in interlukin-6, another protein associated with inflammation. There were also increased amounts of PGC1-alpha, which has a part in muscle support and cellular metabolism.
These tests also indicated that massage was increasing the rate of growth for mitochondria. Mitochondrion, as any cells energy factory, facilitates cellular healing.
Neither the massaged muscle, nor the muscle that had not been massaged, showed any difference in Lactic acid levels. Lactic acid buildup after exercise has been the primary reason to have a massage, but now we have even better reasons.
There are many who doubt the benefits of massage and other alternative therapies. These scientific medical studies may change all that.
This is great news, not just for athletes, but also for those who are increasing their exercise level for their healthy lifestyle plan.
People tend to give up once muscles become sore and inflamed. Even those who enjoy exercise don’t enjoy the pain of overworked muscles. Including an appointment with a masseuse after exercise can reduce pain and keep you on track.
This study indicates that massage can increase your overall health. This is just one small study, but the possible health benefits shown are surprising.