Posted on: February 7, 2012
We’ve heard this from many a Zeel Expert before—that massage isn’t just a luxury anymore; it’s an important part of health and wellness. Now, researchers are beginning to understand why, thanks to 11 macho men who agreed to have their muscle tissues biopsied for the sake of science. We break the study down for you in the simplest of terms.
The hypothesis. Massage decreases muscle inflammation, improves blood flow and releases muscle tightness after vigorous activity.
The experiment. Researchers rounded up a group of 11 men who were willing to have their quads biopsied at rest, immediately after engaging in exercise, 10-minutes after massage treatment, and again after a two-and-a-half hour recovery period. Only one leg was massaged, and the other thigh served as a control.
The results. A decrease in cytokines—compounds that cause inflammation—and an increase in mitochondria, those cell powerhouses you may remember from middle school science. Mitochondria are responsible for converting glucose into energy, which your cells use to repair.
The conclusion. When muscle has been damaged by exercise, bodywork is clinically beneficial, reducing inflammation and promoting muscle repair. In other words, forget the fancy gym clothes and buy yourself a massage instead—a worthy investment in your health.
The significance. So what’s the difference between a massage and simply popping a couple of Advil? Sure, anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce inflammation. On the down side, though, they may ultimately hinder your body’s ability to heal naturally on its own.