Turns out massage isn’t just a luxury you splurge on at the spa. It can also seriously boost your workouts so you’re getting the results you want. 

The Benefits of Sports Massage:

Vigorous exercise causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, leading to an immune reaction — inflammation — as the body gets to work repairing the injured cells. So the researchers screened the tissue from the massaged and unmassaged legs to compare their repair processes and find out what difference massage would make.

They found that massage reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation.

Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair. “The bottom line is that there appears to be a suppression of pathways in inflammation and an increase in mitochondrial biogenesis,” helping the muscle adapt to the demands of increased exercise, said the senior author, Dr. Mark A. Tarnopolsky.

Massage can suppress inflammation and actually enhance cell recovery. We have known from many studies that pain can be reduced by massage based on self-report, but this is the first demonstration that the pain-related pro-inflammatory cytokines can be reduced.

Sports injuries are as common as winners and losers in a sport – that’s a given. Oftentimes, however, the first recourse of the injured is to take the pain-killers and drugs to help them recover. In many cases, the heavy use of drugs, both OTC and prescription-based, can produce long-term side effects.

That’s where the benefits of sports massage come in. If conducted under the supervision and auspices of trained professionals, sports massages help:

Reduce (maybe even eliminate!) the need for harmful chemical-based medication during the recovery process

Alleviate stress and muscle tension

It enhances your post-workout recovery

Increase mobility and range of motion after a sport injury

Shorten down-time time and improves recovery

Build confidence and heal psychologically

These are just some of the benefits of turning to alternative treatments like massage therapy for sports and fitness.

Want to learn more about how massage can be used as a health care tool? Visit our online massage CE courses.