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Muscle massage may speed healing

Molecular benefits to rubbing overworked areas include reduced inflammation

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4:01pm, February 1, 2012

Offering a modern take on an age-old remedy, scientists report that the satisfaction one gets from rubbing sore muscles seems to have tangible roots. Massages might lessen pain-inducing inflammation in muscles and boost healing in the process.

Researchers from Ontario and California have found clear molecular signs that overworked muscle cells respond to being manipulated by massage. They also found measurable decreases in inflammatory compounds in massaged muscle tissue and indications that muscle cells rev up their energy processors for the inevitable repairs that follow hard exercise. The findings appear in the Feb. 1 Science Translational Medicine.

“This is the best data I’ve ever seen addressing possible mechanisms by which this therapy works,” says Thomas Best, a sports medicine physician at the Ohio State University School of Medicine. “This is very compelling.”

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