Massage turns on genes that promote recovery and healing while keeping inflammation at bay.
A decade ago in massage school, I was taught that massage does not heal so much as it helps return people to a state of homeostasis (or internal stability) so that the body can “heal itself.” You may have also heard that massage helps remove lactic acid from muscle tissue. But recent data reveals massage therapy impacts bodily health at a much deeper level than previously thought. In fact, massage therapy induces a healing response by influencing genetic expression.
A new study by researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada looked for the physiologic basis of how massage works. Their study revealed that the lifting and kneading technique, common in Swedish and deep tissue massage, does not remove lactic acid to alleviate muslce soreness, but that it actually turns off genes associated with inflammation and turns on genes that help muscles heal. In the study, scientists removed muscle tissue from overworked quadriceps muscles, comparing the thigh muscle sample that got massage with the other one that did not. The results may have you reaching for your medical dictionary, but in plain English from the research article, “Massage therapy appears to be clinically beneficial by reducing inflammation and promoting mitochondrial biogenesis.”
When you work hard and play hard, massage therapy offers sweet relief and recovery. I am grateful to be able to offer you the healing gift of massage.