Clean, cool, white sheets. Scented candles and oils. Calm, soothing music. People go in for massages with the expectation of relaxation and relief from the tensions of the world; an hour-long getaway from the stress of everyday life. But while most are familiar with massage as a wonderful way to relax and feel good, there is now strong data to support that massage helps muscles heal after injury.
In a study published in Science Translational Medicine, muscles injured by severe exercise-induced trauma responded with decrease inflammation and increased mitochondrial biogenesis after massage when compared to matched controls. In their study, participants underwent an aggressive workout followed by either massage or no massage to their quadriceps muscle group. They then biopsied the muscles from both groups at 10 minutes and 150 minutes and noted decreased inflammation and increased mitochondria biogenesis in the massage group in comparison to the non-massage group. The decreased inflammation leads to less tissue damage after injury and less pain. The increase boost in mitochondria is important since mitochondria are the powerhouses in our cells and decrease as we age or with injury. This study though did not find that massage decreased the levels of lactic acid in the muscles when compared to the control group. In the past, buildup of lactic acid has been blamed for much of the damage seen in tissues after exercise-induced injury.
There are many different types of massages offered, from deep therapy to hot stone. Our trained medical massage therapists can assist you in choosing the treatment that fits your lifestyle and needs best.
So massage not only feels good, but is good for you! See you at the Med Spa!
For further information, link to: http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/4/119/119ra13
Dr. Herluf Lund, M.D., F.A.C.S.