Benefits of Massage


| 7 Comments
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We know that massage helps relieve sore muscles, but what exactly is it doing to our tissues? An article in the New York Times describes an experiment done that tested the exact effects that professional massage has. 
"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." 
The "biopsies" were done by making small incisions in the leg to obtain muscle tissue for analysis.
Former knowledge about muscles told us that when the muscles are worked hard, they make little tears and then become inflamed and the body works to repair them. The experiment showed that in the massaged leg, the production of cytokines (cause inflammation) was greatly reduced while mitochondria (turn glucose into energy to help cell repair) were stimulated. When athletes take pain relievers to combat soreness, they bring down the inflammation but slow down healing. Massage presents a "win-win" situation where inflammation is reduced AND muscle repair is enhanced.

7 Comments

I had to go to physical therapy for my scoliosis and the only thing that help was the massages around my spine that would loosen the tense tightness around the lumbars in my back. Now that I am at school I don't go to physical therapy anymore but I always regret it because I am in need of having a massage.

Through my own personal research on the topic I realized that all different people benefit from all kinds of therapy. Massages are helpful to those in pain because it physically can get rid of medical pain but offers the ability to have relaxation of the mind as well as the body. Things such as acupuncture also provide both the mental and medical calming experiences . According to Mayo Clinic ( http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/massage/SA00082 )
Some issues that massages can help are :
*Anxiety
*Digestive disorders
*Fibromyalgia
*Headaches
*Insomnia related to stress
*Myofascial pain syndrome
*Paresthesias and nerve pain
*Soft tissue strains or injuries
*Sports injuries
*Temporomandibular joint pain
and much much more !

Massages are very helpful and if you are in pain and considering treatment I would suggest trying massages ! Very interesting post !

Haley, I wish you went more in depth with this study because it is a very interesting topic! I've gotten a massage once in my life and afterwords my mother warned me consistently that I may feel "different"-aka dizzy, lightheaded or weak. I wondered why a massage would make me feel this way so I did some research. Turns out that massages affect you in more ways than one! One article states that masseuses even suggest drinking water after the rub-down. Why? Because "many practitioners believe that deep tissue massage releases toxins from the muscles and into the blood stream." Water is recommended because it will allow the patient's kidneys and pancreas process the toxins released. However, it is hard to determine whether this theory is concrete considering not a significant amount of studies were done to prove it. So the hypothesis will remain! Do massages release toxins in the patient? I enjoyed reading your article and wished you elaborated more on the results and statistics. Sometimes it is hard to believe in a study if the results and facts are given to back it up. Include it next time, and you'll be sure to do well! Check out the website below to read more on my theory!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/water-after-a-massage_n_2075604.html

I actually just recently had a massage and for the most part, I found it to be incredibly relaxing. However, a day or two after the massage I began to feel a lot of soreness and ache in my neck. It turns out that this can in a common thing in some cases. Although massages are extremely relaxing and enjoyable, there have been cases where they can cause discomfort. A study done in 2012 showed that off one hundred men and women, at least 10% found that they felt minor discomfort a day or two after his/her massage. This is most commonly known as “post-massage soreness and malaise” (PMSM). Obviously, not everyone suffers from this, but it could very well happen. The ache is said to last only a day or two and if you ask me, I thought that it was well worth it.

http://saveyourself.ca/articles/whats-the-harm.php

The first time I had a massage was last summer, after being encouraged to try it out by my CrossFit coach. The intensity of the workouts was starting to negatively affect my body, especially my shoulders and upper back. While I found the massage to be extremely relaxing, afterwards I did experience the dizziness and almost out of body feeling, some of the commenters above mentioned and then the soreness the day after. However, overall I felt it was very beneficial to my athletic performance in the long run and saw my workouts improve because of it. Apparently athletes feel the same way and many are taking advantage of massages to improve their game. They feel it helps them to recover, train more effectively and even prevent injury. To read more about what sports massages are and why they are popular amongst athletes, read here http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/injuryprevention/a/Sports_Massage.htm.

Haley, man reading your post made me want to get a massage, it's been quite sometime now since I gotten a massage. I have been stress so much that I keep forgetting to take care of myself, I have a question I know that wasn't something they weren't looking for in the study, do you think getting a massage can relief mental stress?

Along with the physical benefits of a massage, there are also definitely other benefits that go beyond that scope. Having had a massage before, I can say that it is very relaxing on the mind and allows us to just relax and not really worry about anything. We all endure so much stress in an average day and sometimes just need to relax and not focus on anything. It almost puts us in our own little world where we are just focused on relaxing and nothing else. In fact, here is an article on the many benefits in terms of mental health via massages: http://www.amtamassage.org/articles/2/PressRelease/detail/2838

I have never gotten a real massage before and I could kick myself for it. I also have never gone to physical therapy or anything like it so reading the blog and some of the comments gave me some more insight to massage besides the fact that they feel good ahah!

This article on Fox News talks about how massage can help in other ways besides restoring muscles. It notes that it can help women who have cancer boost their immune function, kids with asthma, and strengthens the grip of those with carpal tunnel!


http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/03/14/massage-proves-to-have-medical-benefits/

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