Sometimes a proper cool down and stretch after a workout can seem like a whole lot of effort, never mind a full-on muscle massage. However, according to research, as little as ten minutes of muscle massage can not only relieve pains and tensions but also aid those who suffer from inflammation-related diseases.
A very popular home remedy for muscle pain can be carried out using one of the best foam rollers. This small piece of equipment allows you to 'self-massage' painful trigger points by positioning the roller under your muscles and slowly rolling yourself over the round piece of foam.
If you don't own one, it's worthwhile investing in one, or you can use your hands to work out any tensions. In a study published in the journal for Science Translational Medicine (opens in new tab), researchers from McMaster University had a group of young males receive a short massage after completing a seventy-minute session of cycling on one of the best exercise bikes.
The massage therapists, recruited for the purpose of the study, only massaged one leg of each of the cycling participants using techniques commonly practiced in rehabilitation. Following this, muscle biopsies were performed on both legs (the quads to be precise) and this was repeated 2.5 hours later. The results revealed that inflammation was reduced in the massaged leg.
The finding suggests that massage therapy 'blunts' muscle pain through the same biological mechanisms as most pain medications and should be considered as an 'effective alternative'.
The McMaster researchers were among the first to prove that manual therapy in the form of massage could significantly reduce inflammation, which is a contributing factor to many chronic diseases that can lead to things like arthritis or muscular dystrophy.
A doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster, Justin Crane said they were surprised that such a small amount of time spent massaging the muscles could have such a positive impact.
"We have shown the muscle senses that it is being stretched and this appears to reduce the cells' inflammatory response," Crane explained. "As a consequence, massage may be beneficial for recovery from injury."
If you feel like you experience really bad muscle pain then you should consider consulting a doctor or physiotherapist in case you do need a more severe treatment. But if it's more to do with post-exercise treatment then it's worthwhile applying a short massage to your muscles. You can also learn more about muscle recovery after workouts.
Jessica is Staff Writer at Fit&Well. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition.
When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.
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