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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid