Repair: Vigorous exercise causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, leading to an immune reaction — inflammation — as the body gets to work repairing the injured cells. Researchers have screened the tissue from the massaged and unmassaged legs to compare their repair processes, and find out what difference massage would make.
They found that massage reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair. “The bottom line is that there appears to be a suppression of pathways in inflammation and an increase in mitochondrial biogenesis,” helping the muscle adapt to the demands of increased exercise, said the senior author, Dr. Mark A. Tarnopolsky.
Dr. Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said that massage works quite differently from Nsaids and other anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce inflammation and pain but may actually heed healing. Many people, for instance, pop an aspirin or Aleve at the first sign of muscle soreness. “There’s some theoretical concern that there is a maladaptive response in the long run if you’re constantly suppressing inflammation with drugs,” he said. “With massage, you can have your cake and eat it too—massage can suppress inflammation and actually enhance cell recovery.”
“This is important research, because it is the first to show that massage can reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines which may be involved in pain,” said Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School. She was not involved in the study. “We have known from many studies that pain can be reduced by massage based on self-report, but this is the first demonstration that the pain-related pro-inflammatory cytokines can be reduced.” she said.
Feed your Muscles: Not only should you repair your muscles, but during your recovery you should feed your muscles.
According to the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP), inflammation can cause pain and swelling in your body and muscles when your immune system begins the process of healing a wounded area in your body.
To help minimize the effects of inflammation and promote healthy healing, the ABMP suggest making simplistic changes in your diet by adding these foods to your grocery list:
– Cold-Water Fish
To aid in the healing process be sure to avoid these types of foods:
-High-Fat Dairy Products
– White Foods (remember most white food is unnatural)
Source: American Bodywork and Massage Professionals:www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/1940/Foods-for-a-Healthy-Backa