New Research: Massage Aids in Pain Reduction in a Cellular Level like Painkillers Do

By Sharon Moore on February 03, 2012

Massage doesn’t only relax tensed and aching muscles. It also takes away pain and inflammation in a cellular level just like what painkillers do. The only difference is that massage doesn’t have any side effects.

Massage and Pain Reduction

Many people find it useful to have massage after a heavy workout to ease muscle pain. And on a very recent study, scientists confirmed that this belief has scientific basis. On a study published in the online edition of Science Translational Medicine, it was revealed that massage promotes the growth of mitochondria in the muscles – the power-generating structure in the cell. The study which was conducted by the researchers from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario, pointed out that because of this, massage can help treat pain and speed up the healing process of inflamed muscles. The researchers also added that massage can reduce the production of cytokines (inflammation-reducing proteins).

To determine the effects of massage in the muscles, the researchers took samples of muscle tissue from 11 young men who had strenuous workout using stationary bikes. The volunteers went through biopsy before exercising, 10 minutes after getting a massage, and after 2.5 hours of recovery. To compare the difference, one of the volunteers was given massage in one of his legs. The results formally confirmed the belief that massage can really aid in treating inflamed muscle tissues.

Scientists also believed that the pain reduction which is associated with massage involves the same mechanism with that of anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers. According to Simon Melov, PhD, one of the researchers from Buck Institute, the research showed that massage dampened the expression of inflammatory cytokines in the muscle cells and at the same time, it promotes the biogenesis of mitochondria.

The lead researcher, Dr Mark Tarnopolsky believes that massage can be of great benefit to individuals with varying health problems. It’s a great therapy for the elderly, for those who are suffering from musculoskeletal injuries, and for individuals who are having chronic inflammatory diseases. He also added that massage is of great value to the medical practice.

Massage Therapy

Massage is one of the most used alternative medicines in the world. In fact, there are over 200 forms of massage. These therapies are also used for different purposes. While these therapies involve varying bodyworks and techniques, they all include manipulating the muscle tissues using the hand to relieve the pressure that causes pain. For many years, people have relied on massage to reduce stress and alleviate body pain. It is also used in many hospitals to aid individuals suffering from major illnesses. In the Royal Marsden NHS Trust, massage is used to aid cancer patients who are having difficulty relaxing and going to sleep. Massage is also used for people who are suffering from anxiety and fatigue.

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