Massage is the process of working with the body through pressure, motion or vibration. It aims to improve tissue health while preventing further damage. Massage therapists use different techniques and pressures on the body.
Massage has various medical and therapeutic uses. Most often, you get a massage to ease sore muscles from a long day at work. In addition to relieving tension and increasing feel good hormones, massage therapy is also effective in boosting healing from an injury.
How it Works
During an injury, your body naturally compensates it by tightening the tissue around the damage. Massage can strengthen those tissues while easing the tension. Thus, it reduces swelling and pain.
Massage also produces mechanical and relaxation responses throughout your body. It increases lymph and blood circulation while normalizing the tissues. This in turn, reduces your muscle spasms and contraction. Since it uses human touch, it provides an invitation for relaxation. It relaxes your muscle tissues while reducing muscle contraction.
Massage therapy is effective in treating acute and chronic injuries.
What Studies Show
A group of researchers tested the effectiveness of therapeutic massage in speeding recovery after a sports injury. They used animals in testing the theory and had devices that mimicked exercises. A device that provided a massaging motion followed afterward. The study showed that animals that received massage after the exercise experienced less swelling and had better function than those that didn’t. The researchers also found out that immediately treating the injury with massage therapy can boost healing. This study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
Another research published in the Science Translation Medicine studied what happens to muscles during a massage. Researchers biopsied legs of male volunteers during rest, exercise, and massage. They did another biopsy after the massage. One volunteer was left to heal on his own without massage. They found that massage stimulated the mitochondria and reduced cytokines. This meant it helped in promoting repair and reducing inflammation.