Can massage really be the answer to all our problems? Okay, maybe not quite – but researchers continue to find truly amazing benefits of regular massage therapy. One of the latest studies found biological evidence that massage therapy can aid in the healing of your injured, sore, or overworked muscles! This is particularly good news for athletes with muscle –related injuries. Massage will not give you the pain relief you need, but will also help your muscles heal faster.
Getting frequent massages will do a couple of things for your muscles. Similar to anti-inflammatory pills, massage therapy works to alleviate the resulted pain from muscle injuries. A massage sends signals right into your genes which decrease your body’s areas of muscle inflammation. Additionally, massage promotes the generation of mitochondria, the “powerhouse” part of your cells. The more mitochondria you have in your muscle cells, the more oxygen your muscles can take for repair.
So how does all this information help you and your body? Let’s say that while training for a marathon, you injured your left calf. As with any wound, your body initiates an inflammatory phase as part of its healing process. You may respond to painful inflammation by taking anti-inflammatory pills or hopping in an ice bath. However, although this relieves your pain, it also slows down the actual healing process. Massage on the other hand, both reduces your pain and promotes muscle healing. With additional research, experts may determine massage to be the most effective “medicine” for getting you back to doing what you love.