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Musculoskeletal Cardio-Vascular

Multiple Benefits of Massage

10 years ago

13028  0
Posted on May 27, 2014, 6 a.m.

Massage therapy improves general blood flow and alleviates muscle soreness after exercise.

In an effort to substantiate commonly held impressions that massage improves circulation and relieves muscle soreness Shane Phillips, from the University of Illinois at Chicago (Illinois, USA), and colleagues enrolled a group of 36 healthy sedentary adults who were asked exercise their legs to soreness using a standard leg press machine. Half of the exercisers received leg massages, using conventional Swedish massage techniques, after the exercise.  As expected, both exercise groups experienced soreness immediately after exercise. The exercise-and-massage group reported no continuing soreness 90 minutes after massage therapy. The exercise-only group reported lasting soreness 24 hours after exercise.  Further, in that exercise-induced muscle injury has been shown to reduce blood flow, the researchers also measured brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD) — a standard metric of general vascular health, in the upper arm —via ultrasound at 90 minutes, 24, 48 and 72 hours after exercise.  For the exercise-and massage-group, FMD indicated improved blood flow at all time points, with improvement tapering off after 72 hours. As expected, the exercise-only group showed reduced blood flow after 90 minutes and 24 and 48 hours, with a return to normal levels at 72 hours.  The study authors report that: “Our results suggest that [massage therapy] attenuates impairment of upper extremity endothelial function resulting from lower extremity exertion-induced muscle injury in sedentary young adults.”

Nina C. Franklin, Mohamed M. Ali, Austin T. Robinson, Edita Norkeviciute, Shane A. Phillips.  “Massage Therapy Restores Peripheral Vascular Function After Exertion.”  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, February 25, 2014.

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