News / Health

Scientists Uncover Why Massage Heals Sore Muscles

Acts on cellular level in the same way as many pain medications

Multimedia

Audio
Jessica Berman

Massage not only feels good, it does good. It is a regular feature of locker rooms, to soothe the overworked muscles of athletes, and physical therapy sessions, to help patients recover from injuries.



Now, a new study suggests that massage may work on the cellular level in a manner similar to pain-relieving medications such as aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs.

Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatric medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, led a study that tried to pinpoint the biological mechanism that gives massage its healing property.

New research suggests massage acts on the cellular level in the same way as many pain medications.
New research suggests massage acts on the cellular level in the same way as many pain medications.

“People have a lot of ideas about what massage does and doesn’t do.  And many of them were revolving around reduction in pain, and yet very few studies have actually been done to investigate this at the molecular and cellular level.”

Tarnopolsky's team conducted a study involving 11 young men who exercised to the point of exhaustion on stationary bikes.  

The men underwent muscle biopsies in each leg prior to jumping on the bikes, and each participant had one leg - chosen at random - massaged after exercise.  Muscle biopsies - small tissue samples - were taken from each leg 10 minutes after the massage therapy, and again, two-and-a-half hours later during the recovery period.

Researchers did a genetic analysis of each of the tissue samples.

“What we did is we looked at whatever genes were influenced by exercise in a different way in the massaged versus the non-massaged leg," Tarnopolsky says.  "And what came out of that were two different pathways.”

In the muscle tissue of the massaged leg, researchers found a decrease in inflammatory cytokines, or proteins, and an increase in mitochondria, the energy producing units in cells, compared to tissue from the unmassaged leg.  

Inflammation is an indicator of tissue damage, while mitochondrial production is a sign of tissue recovery.

The researchers say the findings suggest that massage acts on the cellular level in the same way as many pain medications, which are known to have some serious side effects. They believe that massage may be an effective and safer alternative that could used in routine medical practice.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid