How Massage Heals Sore Muscles

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/06
/how-massage-heals-sore-muscles/?pagewan
ted=print

February 6, 2012

By NICHOLAS BAKALAR

A massage after vigorous exercise unquestionably feels good, and it seems to reduce pain and help muscles recover. Many people — both athletes and health professionals – have long contended it eases inflammation, improves blood flow and reduces muscle tightness. But until now no one has understood why massage has this apparently beneficial effect.

Now researchers have found what happens to muscles when a masseur goes to work on them.

Their experiment required having people exercise to exhaustion and undergo five incisions in their legs in order to obtain muscle tissue for analysis. Despite the hurdles, the scientists still managed to find 11 brave young male volunteers. The study was published in the Feb. 1 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

On a first visit, they biopsied one leg of each subject at rest. At a second session, they had them vigorously exercise on a stationary bicycle for more than an hour until they could go no further. Then they massaged one thigh of each subject for 10 minutes, leaving the other to recover on its own. Immediately after the massage, they biopsied the thigh muscle in each leg again. After allowing another two-and-a-half hours of rest, they did a third biopsy to track the process of muscle injury and repair.

Vigorous exercise causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, leading to an immune reaction — inflammation — as the body gets to work repairing the injured cells. So the researchers screened the tissue from the massaged and unmassaged legs to compare their repair processes, and find out what difference massage would make.

They found that massage reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair. “The bottom line is that there appears to be a suppression of pathways in inflammation and an increase in mitochondrial biogenesis,” helping the muscle adapt to the demands of increased exercise, said the senior author, Dr. Mark A. Tarnopolsky.

Dr. Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said that massage works quite differently from Nsaids and other anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce inflammation and pain but may actually retard healing. Many people, for instance, pop an aspirin or Aleve at the first sign of muscle soreness. “There’s some theoretical concern that there is a maladaptive response in the long run if you’re constantly suppressing inflammation with drugs,” he said. “With massage, you can have your cake and eat it too—massage can suppress inflammation and actually enhance cell recovery.”

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Research Exclusive: Study Focuses on Massage Therapy Efficacy Beliefs

posted:9/27/2013
Author: Albert Moraska.
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 A recent study focused on the belief in the efficacy of massage for muscle recovery after running a race. After gathering and analyzing data from runners who had just completed a race, researchers found massage is well-accepted as an aid in muscle recovery, especially among females and people who have received massage in the past.

The study, “Massage Efficacy Beliefs for Muscle Recovery from a Running Race,” involved 745 people who completed the same 10-kilometer race. Study data was collected from subjects within one hour postrace. The mean subject age was about 37 years.

Participants were approached right after the race and asked whether they were interested in completing a short questionnaire. This survey asked each subject to record his or her gender, age, race finish time, time since he or she finished the race, number of professional massages received and number of hours slept the previous evening.

Participants were also asked to rate their perceived exertion, muscle soreness and fatigue on scales from zero to 10. For one of the study’s main outcome measures, subjects were asked, “Do you think massage would be beneficial for your muscle recovery from today’s race?” They could elect to answer yes, no or unsure. The “no” and “unsure” answers were grouped together for analysis.

The data showed female racers reported a younger age, longer race finish time and lower perceived exertion, muscle soreness and muscle fatigue than male racers. Participants who reported having had massage in the past were among the older racers. Subjects who believed massage would aid in muscle recovery were those who were older and reported greater perceived exertion, muscle fatigue and muscle soreness.

The numbers also showed 80 percent of the 745 runners surveyed believed massage would benefit muscle recovery following the race, even though only about 44 percent of the runners had received massage in the past.

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Document Details Why Massage is an “Integral Component” in the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits

08/01/2013

http://www.massagemag.com/News/massage-news.php?id=14161&catid=1&title=document-details-why-massage-is-an-qintegral-componentq-in-the-affordable-care-acts-essential-health-benefits-

Some leaders in the massage field are taking steps to try and ensure that massage becomes a greater part of the U.S. health care system, as the implementation date of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) comes closer. A section of the ACA, which goes into effect in 2014, prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against health care providers—including those licensed as complementary health care providers—relative to their coverage and participation in health plans.A group of Washington state massage therapists has written a document titled “Evidence-Informed Massage Therapy is an Integral Component in the Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits.”

The document summarizes “the high-quality evidence for [massage therapy’s] effectiveness in treating medical conditions and populations” pertaining to the three (out of 10) Essential Health Benefits described in the ACA.

The authors are Marissa Brooks, L.M.P., Michael Hamm, L.M.P., Benjamin Erkan, Diana L. Thompson, L.M.P., and Kenneth Pfaff, H.F.W.L., H.P.C.U.H.G.S.

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) supports the integration of MT into state-regulated insurance plans, both in its definitions of health care practitioners, and in its definition of Essential Health Benefits (EHBs),” the authors wrote, adding that two sections in the ACA provide for massage therapists to provide care: “Section 2706: Non-discrimination with respect to licensed or certified providers acting within their scope [and] Section 3502: Establishing community health teams that include CAM practitioners … ” The authors also noted that of the 10 EHBs specified in the ACA, massage therapy “has shown substantial benefit in three primary categories: 5. Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment”; 7. Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices”; and 9. Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management.”

The documents reviewers include Ruth Werner, the current president of the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF). Thompson is MTF past president. Tracy Walton, L.M.T., and Albert Moraska, Ph.D., reviewed the document as well. The document was funded by the American Massage Therapy Association’s Washington chapter.

Read the document here.

—Karen Menehan, Editor in Chief