The importance of massage for muscle recovery

Manual therapy sends signals to the muscles to build more mitochondria

Researchers from Mc Master University discovered that a brief 10-minute massage helps reduce inflammation in the muscle as a non-medical therapy because it has the potential to help not only hard-working athletes, but also people with inflammation related to chronic conditions such as arthritis or muscular dystrophy. Researchers worked further to discover that massage applied for the relief of muscle tension and pain also triggers biochemical sensors that can send signals of reduced inflammation to muscle cells.

According to Justion Crane, one of the participants of the university study published in the February issue of the journal “Science Translational Medicine”, massage sends signals to the muscles to build more mitochondria, which are the centers of energy production of cells and they play an important role in healing.

The scientists affirmed the new research offers us a new datum about the functionality of the massage into the muscle seeing what happens during and after doing it; never looked at the biochemical effects and their effects on the muscle itself but now it is shown how they lengthen and this seems to reduce the inflammatory presence of the cells, being a beneficial consequence for the recovery of the lesions.

  • The trials conducted at the University of Mc Master were the first to focus on a manual therapy such as massageand test its effect using a muscle biopsy showing how inflammation is reduced, an underlying factor of many chronic diseases.
  • In the study we worked with 11 homrbes of 20 years who worked with the bicycle for more than 70 minutes to the point of fatigue and then rest for 10 minutes in a period of two weeks; at rest a massage therapist applied oil to both legs performing 10 minute massages on one leg using a variety of techniques commonly used in rehabilitation. So, Massage is also useful for cyclists to treat the muscle fatigue.
  • During the tests muscle biopsies were performed on both legs in the quadriceps area at the end of the massages and after 2.5 hours the same procedure was also performed, finding a reduction of the inflammation in the massaged leg.

The scientists admit that they were surprised that only 10 minutes of massages had such a profound effect, especially because the exercise was intense. In this case the results suggest that therapeutic massage for muscle pain could help the same biological mechanisms being an effective alternative and more if supplements are used for recovery in post-training.

Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine who oversaw the study and stated that since mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with muscle atrophy and other processes such as insulin resistance, any therapy that can Improving mitochondrial function can be beneficial.

Scientists said that this study is only a first step in determining the best therapies to promote the recovery of a variety of muscle injuries but would not help to eliminate lactic acid from tired muscles.