For most people, massage is a guilty pleasure to be enjoyed only rarely. But athletes know better…they understand that receiving a massage after a strenuous workout or game can help their bodies recover more quickly. Now, science has proved the health-promoting benefits of massage.
According to an article in ScienceDaily, there’s no reason to feel guilty about treating yourself to a massage. Yes, massage feels good, but at the cellular level there’s real medicine going on. Massage reduces inflammation, and promotes the growth of energy-producing structures called mitochondria. The reduction of inflammation has similar effects as anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen.
“There’s general agreement that massage feels good, now we have a scientific basis for the experience,” said Simon Melov [scientist from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario].
The study, originally published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, had young men exercise to exhaustion on a stationary bicycle, a level that would cause exercise-induced muscle damage. Afterward, one of their legs was randomly chosen to be massaged. Biopsies were taken from the thighs of both legs of the men at three times: Before the exercise; 10 minutes after the massage; and 2.5 hours later. The massaged leg showed chemical changes that indicated anti-inflammatory actions. According to lead author Mark Tarnopolsky, M.D., Ph.D.:
“The potential benefits of massage could be useful to a broad spectrum of individuals including the elderly, those suffering from musculoskeletal injuries and patients with chronic inflammatory disease,” said Tarnopolsky. “This study provides evidence that manipulative therapies, such as massage, may be justifiable in medical practice.”
Straight from a doctor’s mouth…that’s good enough for me. I guess the next step is to hope that massage is someday covered by health insurance.
To read the full story on ScienceDaily, click here: Massage Reduces Inflammation