Massage Scientific Evidence

Massage Therapy, Wellspring, pain and injury treatment, manual therapy, physical therapy

Scientific research has revealed the biological effects of massage including its role in reducing inflammation and repairing muscle tissue. This research provides scientific evidence for the benefits of massage in complimentary medicine and medical practice.

The scientific benefits of massage have remained unclear and controversial until a clinical study published on Feb 2, 2012 in Science Translational Medicine.

The researchers recruited 11 healthy male volunteers who each participated in a 15-minute period of intense exercise. Immediately after completing the exercise, participants received 10 minutes of massage for one leg and no treatment for the other leg.

Researchers obtained specimens of the participants quadriceps at rest, immediately after massage and after a 2.5-hour recovery period.

Using whole-genome microarrays, the researchers examined the gene expression of the quadriceps muscle samples associated with massage compared to the untreated muscle and then performed further genetic studies to quantify the findings.

The key research findings were:

  • The researchers found altered genetic expression related to the reduction of inflammation in the massaged muscle tissues.
  • The researchers found elevated protein levels related to increased tissue repair in the massaged muscles
  • After the post-recovery period, the researchers also found increased production of mitochondria, a key regulator of healthy cell activity, in the massaged muscle tissues.

These research results provide scientific evidence for use of manual therapies (massage, myofascial release, joint mobilization) in complimentary medicine, alternative medicine and integrated medical practice.

Source reference:
Crane JD, et al "Massage therapy attenuates inflammatory signaling after exercise-induced muscle damage" Sci Transl Med. Feb 1,2012; DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3002882.

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