A research study conducted by the Buck Institute found that massage therapy helps to reduce inflammation of the muscles that were damaged by exercise. The study also found that the pain relief brought by massage therapy is similar to that brought by anti-inflammatory medication. A press release issued by McMasters University, who partnered with the Buck Institute on this study, stated:
“Most athletes can testify to the pain-relieving, recovery-promoting effects of massage. Now there’s a scientific basis that supports booking a session with a massage therapist: On the cellular level massage reduces inflammation and promotes the growth of new mitochondria in skeletal muscle.”
If massage therapy was proven to work with athletes who use their muscles much more often and to a much higher capacity than the average person, then it is safe to say that it can be proven to work for just about anyone. The press release also explained some of the logistics for how the research was conducted by saying,
“The study involved the genetic analysis of muscle biopsies taken from the quadriceps of eleven young males after they had exercised to exhaustion on a stationary bicycle. One of their legs was randomly chosen for massage. 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.”
The bottom line is that it has not only been scientifically proven, but also tested on professional athletes that massage therapy can do wonders to ease the pain caused by inflammation in the muscles post-workout. So, keep that gym membership but make sure to come see me for a massage right after!