Massage heals the injured muscle tissue

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Massage supports the healing of muscle injuries, as a new study proved

Massage promotes the healing of exercise-induced muscle injury. Canadian researchers have deciphered the cellular effect of the massage on the muscles and thus discovered an explanation for the healing effect of the massages for muscle injuries.

Justin Crane from the Institute of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton and colleagues in the journal Science Translational Medicine report that it was known from previous studies that massage treatment for muscle aches can relieve pain and improve healing. The Canadian scientists have now succeeded in deciphering the underlying cellular processes.

Examination of muscle tissue after strenuous exercise The researchers led by Justin Crane investigated the effects of massages on eleven young men following an exhausting physical exercise. The subjects underwent cycling training in which their muscles were brought to the limit of their endurance. Then both thighs were rubbed with oil and the thigh muscles (quadriceps femoris) were massaged on one leg for ten minutes. The researchers then took a tissue sample from both thigh muscles as part of a muscle biopsy, which they then examined in the laboratory. The same procedure was repeated after two and a half hours.

Reduction of inflammation values ​​and improved mitochondrial production When analyzing the muscle tissue, Justin Crane and colleagues found that on the one hand the massage reduced the inflammation values ​​of the injured muscle tissue and on the other hand increased amounts of substances that contribute to the production of mitochondria. The mitochondria, as tiny energy power plants of the cells, play an essential role in the healing processes in the injured tissue. The Canadian researchers also explained that the massage also helps alleviate muscle problems by “promoting mitochondrial biogenesis”. Justin Crane and colleagues are convinced that their results provide evidence of the benefits of massage for "skeletal muscle rehabilitation". The scientists conclude that the positive cellular effect of the massage on athletes or people with muscle problems has now been clearly clarified.

Massage without influence on the lactic acid in the tissue The researchers also found that the massage treatments had no influence on the lactic acid (lactate) in the muscle tissue. The lactate levels remained essentially unaffected by the massage. Until recently, it was believed that the relief of muscle discomfort from massage was due to a decrease in lactate in muscle tissue. Because lactic acid was suspected to trigger the sore muscles. However, most researchers are now convinced that muscle problems after physical exertion are caused by tiny injuries in the tissue. Regardless of the cause of the muscle pain, it can be said in any case that “massage therapy is clinically advantageous” for injuries to the muscle tissue, writes Justin Crane and colleagues. (fp)

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