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Massages may yield surprising benefit for tired muscles

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If you’ve relied on massages to soothe pain and promote well-being, new research finds that massages after a good workout may offer even more positive benefits.According to a small study by Canadian researchers, people who worked out for 70 minutes and then had a massage had a marked increase in their muscle cells’ energy production and a decrease in inflammation in the muscles. The study was published  last week in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

For many years, people have gotten massages "without a huge amount of scientific underpinning," said study researcher Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, head of the division of neuromuscular and neurometabolic disease at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. "Our work raises the very interesting possibility that endurance exercise may be enhanced, or at least the benefits may be enhanced, for those who have a massage following their exercise."

In the study, eleven young men exercised to exhaustion, which took about 70 minutes, and then after a brief rest had one leg massaged for 10 minutes while the other was not. The researchers then analyzed tissue samples from both of the subjects’ leg muscles, finding signficant changes in the massaged muscles, including an increase in the production of mitrochondria, which are the "powerhouse of the cell, and increases of mitochondria are at the heart of the benefits of endurance exercise," Tarnopolsky said.

Interestingly, the researchers didn’t find evidence that massages reduced lactic acid, which builds up in muscles during exercise.

Another study published last year found that a ten-week massage treatment reduced pain more than medications and exercises, and the effects lasted for six months. The research, appearing in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, involved about 400 patients aged 20 to 65 with chronic low back pain.

By AFP Relax




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