Toronto, Feb 6 (IANS) Most athletes would swear by the pain-relieving, muscle recovery-promoting benefits of massaging, which has now been validated by scientific evidence.
On the cellular level, massage reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of new mitochondria (cellular powerhouse) in skeletal muscle, says a new study.
Inflammation is a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury, an immune response to protect the body from infection, the journal Science Translational Medicine reported.
Mark Tarnopolsky from McMaster's University, who led the study, said: "The potential benefits of massage could be useful to a broad spectrum of individuals including the elderly, those suffering from musculoskeletal injuries and patients with chronic inflammatory disease."
McMaster's Buck Institute faculty member Simon Melov, who conducted the genetic analysis of the samples, said pain reduction linked with massage may involve the same mechanism as those targeted by conventional anti-inflammatory drugs.
The study relied on the genetic analysis of muscle biopsies taken from the quadriceps of young males after they had exercised to exhaustion on a stationary bicycle, said a university statement.
One of their legs was randomly chosen to be massaged. Biopsies were taken from both legs prior to the exercise, immediately after 10 minutes of massage treatment and after a 2.5 hour period of recovery.
About 18 million individuals undergo massage therapy annually in the US, making it the fifth most widely used form of complementary and alternative medicine.