Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Massage therapy improves circulation, alleviates muscle soreness

Date:
April 16, 2014
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Massage therapy improves general blood flow and alleviates muscle soreness after exercise, according to a study. The results also showed that massage improved vascular function in people who had not exercised, suggesting that massage has benefits for people regardless of their level of physical activity.

Massage therapy improves general blood flow and alleviates muscle soreness after exercise, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The study, reported online in advance of print in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, also showed that massage improved vascular function in people who had not exercised, suggesting that massage has benefits for people regardless of their level of physical activity.

Improved circulation and relief of muscle soreness are common claims made for massage's benefits, but no studies have substantiated such claims, even though massage therapy is increasingly used as an adjunct to traditional medical interventions, said Shane Phillips, UIC associate professor of physical therapy and principal investigator on the study.

"Our study validates the value of massage in exercise and injury, which has been previously recognized but based on minimal data," said Nina Cherie Franklin, UIC postdoctoral fellow in physical therapy and first author of the study. "It also suggests the value of massage outside of the context of exercise."

The researchers had set out to see if massage would improve systemic circulation and reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Healthy sedentary adults were asked to 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. Participants rated their muscle soreness on a scale from 1 to 10.

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.

Exercise-induced muscle injury has been shown to reduce blood flow. In this study, brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD) -- a standard metric of general vascular health, measured in the upper arm -- was taken by 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.

"We believe that massage is really changing physiology in a positive way," said Franklin. "This is not just blood flow speeds -- this is actually a vascular response."

Because vascular function was changed at a distance from both the site of injury and the massage, the finding suggests a "systemic rather than just a local response," she said.

"The big surprise was the massage-only control group, who showed virtually identical levels of improvement in circulation as the exercise and massage group," said Phillips.

"The circulatory response was sustained for a number of days, which suggests that massage may be protective," said Phillips.

For people with limited mobility or those with impaired vascular function, further research may show that regular massage offers significant benefits, the authors say.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. The original article was written by Jeanne Galatzer-Levy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nina C. Franklin, Mohamed M. Ali, Austin T. Robinson, Edita Norkeviciute, Shane A. Phillips. Massage Therapy Restores Peripheral Vascular Function following Exertion. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.02.007

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Massage therapy improves circulation, alleviates muscle soreness." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416125434.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2014, April 16). Massage therapy improves circulation, alleviates muscle soreness. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416125434.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Massage therapy improves circulation, alleviates muscle soreness." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416125434.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Microneedle Patch Promises Painless Pricks

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 18, 2014) Researchers at The National University of Singapore have invented a new microneedle patch that could offer a faster and less painful delivery of drugs such as insulin and painkillers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

Raw: Nurse Nina Pham Arrives in Maryland

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) The first nurse to be diagnosed with Ebola at a Dallas hospital walked down the stairs of an executive jet into an ambulance at an airport in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday. Pham will be treated at the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

Raw: Cruise Ship Returns to US Over Ebola Fears

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) A Caribbean cruise ship carrying a Dallas health care worker who is being monitored for signs of the Ebola virus is heading back to Texas, US, after being refused permission to dock in Cozumel, Mexico. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

Spanish Govt: Four Suspected Ebola Cases in Spain Test Negative

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the deadly virus in a first round of tests, the government said Friday. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins