How Does Massage Benefit Your Muscles After a Race or Training?

Posted on February 14th, 2012, by relax

A scientific study which shows that massage can reduce
inflammation and reduce the stress of exercise-induced muscle

Many clients who compete in races and events will ask me when they should receive their massage – pre or post race?  I typicaly respond that it is beneficial at either time or both, but that I, myself, prefer after a race. Sports massage uses a variety of different techniques which are used depending on the training and race schedule of each athlete and, also whether they are injured. The timing of a sports massage will change the intent of the session and the techniques employed. Recent research confirms the benefits that our bodies receive post race or post training.

From a recent study published in Science Translation Medicine on 2/1/12, it appears that a massage which is administered to skeletal muscle after exercise-induced trauma has occured, will not only help to reduce inflammation but reduce the stress of exercise-induced muscle damage.  In this study, biopsies of 11 male subjects’ vastus lateralis (a quad muscle) were taken 10 minutes after a massage to that area or after no massage to the control group and then, again after 2.5 hours of recovery time for both groups.

This is good news for all of the endorphin junkies out there who purposefully induce an inflammatory response from hard training sessions!  One might wonder whether the same benefits would hold true for people who suffer from a condition or an auto immune disease such as fibromyalgia or lupus which produce inflammation?  As well, one might ask if similar results are found following a massage without the exercise-induced muscle trauma?


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