Tag: massage

How massage heals

From “The Week” volume 12 issue 554

Getting a massage is more than just a luxurious way to relax.  It also changes the way our genes behave and contributes to muscular healing, new research has found.  Scientists had 11 male volunteers ride stationary bicycles until they were exhausted.  They then massaged one of each volunteer’s thighs for 10 minutes and took biopsies from both legs.  In samples from massaged muscles, they found that genes linked to inflammation and soreness were three times less active than they were in those from the untreated legs.  The massages also caused a 30 percent increase in a gene that helps  muscle cells create mitochondria, cellular organs that produce energy, potentially boosting muscle recovery.  Previous studies have suggested that massage can reduce stress and discomfort, but scientists weren’t sure how it worked, or whether it’s effects were psychological.  The new study underlines the practice’s dual therapeutic benefits of repairing muscles and reducing pain.  “With massage,” Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, tells The New York Times, “it seems you can have your cake and eat it too.”