Does Massage Really Help Muscles Recover After Exercise?

July 18th, 2019

We’ve all seen the massage tents at the finish line of races. But are massages good for you after working out? A sports massage doesn’t just feel good. Massage has been shown to improve blood flow, decrease inflammation and help muscles recover after intense exercise, but it also helps muscles grow. Catch your attention? Read more…

Massage and Muscle Recovery

For people who exercise a lot, massages work well to both prevent and treat sports injuries. At Driven+SWS, our licensed massage therapists can work out the knots or trigger points that may cause soreness the day after your workout.

When it comes to a speedy recovery, massage increases the blood flow and oxygen in your muscles and (in some people) may decrease lactic acid build-up, which is widely considered the first sign of muscle soreness.

Impact of Massage on Muscles

There’s no question that a massage after vigorous exercise undoubtedly feels good. Massage not only helps you feel better post-workout but also speeds up muscle recovery. The question is how.

In a recent study, researchers put 11 men through an intense session of exercise – the kind where you’re seriously sore for days. Following their workouts, each man received a 10-minute Swedish-style massage on one leg while the other leg rested for comparison purposes. Muscle tissue from both legs was sampled repeatedly before and after exercise. Researchers saw two main differences:

  1. Massage decreased any inflammation caused by the workout, comparable to the effects of certain pain medications.
  2. Massage increased the production of mitochondria in the muscles, the powerhouses of cells. As muscle cells adapt to endurance exercise, the number of mitochondria increases. These help generate energy at a cellular level.

However, research isn’t reflecting what’s commonly thought of the main benefit of massage after exercise – decreasing lactic acid build-up. In some people, massage does do that but it seems that the benefits are further into your cell structure.

Massage Boosts Muscle Fitness

Two to four months of endurance training, depending on the intensity will substantially increase the volume of mitochondria in muscle. With the extra energy given, your muscles can extract more oxygen. In other words, massage may be uniquely beneficial to muscle recovery AND muscle growth.

Interestingly enough, several studies have shown that traditional remedies for muscle soreness such as ice baths or anti-inflammatory medications may have a downside in that they showed to block muscle repair and growth.

Massage Acts as Medicine

Many people — both athletes and health & wellness professionals – have seen massage as an integral part of the training process. Massage soothes inflammation, increases blood flow and reduces muscle tightness after a workout. We believe massage therapy is a serious form of medicine. Studies, such as the one above, prove how human muscle cells respond to massage thus proving its benefits go far beyond relaxation.

At Driven Fit + Sponaugle Wellness Studio, we believe in a total-body form of wellness and that recovery is a huge part of the process. Ready to see how a combination of exercise and massage impacts your overall wellness? Licensed therapists offer killer sports massages. Call or text us (813) 440-3016 or contact the studio.

Categories: Transformation

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