Massage Gains

muscle soreness

The news every male and female gym lover wanted to hear is finally true.

Your partner needs to give you more massages.

Because science, bro.

You see, grabbing a massage after your train – even one as short as ten minutes – has been shown to greatly reduc muscle tissue inflammation and boost your post-workout recovery.

Meaning you recover faster, and get back in the gym sooner.


Feel The Burn

McMaster University, Canada, has long been responsible for some of the most prominent research on resistance exercise and high intensity interval training.

Indeed, alongside the slew of other useful discoveries they have made over the years – particularly on high intensity interval training – it was a team of researchers from this very university which published today’s interesting findings in Science Translational Medicine.

Of course, massage is already well documented as a means for reducing muscle tension.

But researchers have now discovered that it is also capable of triggering biochemical sensors which send inflammation-reducing signals to our muscle cells. (1)

post workout massage

Perhaps even more surprisingly is the fact that massage also signals to the muscles to build more mitochondria.

Anyone who is familiar with their training will recognize the term mitochondria.

These are the powerhouses of the muscle cells which are responsible for recovery and healing.

That’s right – not only does it feel good, it’s helping you get back in the gym sooner!

As a consequence, it is also believed that massage can now be considered beneficial when recovering from an injury.

muscle soreness

Trust Science

During the study, the team followed 11 men in their 20’s as they underwent a cycling program.

After having their exercise capacity assessed, they were taken through a 70 minute cycling workout, to the point of exhaustion – not being able to continue.

While resting up after the session, a massage therapist went to work on one leg.

Muscle biopsies were taken from both legs after the massage and again two-and-a-half hours later.

The researchers found inflammation had been greatly reduced in the massaged leg.

A side-benefit of this study is the fact that the team were also able to lay to rest a popular massage myth – lactic acid build-up.

Although a popular belief in the fitness world, massage does not clear lactic acid from our muscle cells after a workout.

muscle soreness after workout


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1. Crane, J. D., et al. “Massage Therapy Attenuates Inflammatory Signaling After Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage.” Sci Tran Med 01 Feb 2012: vol. 4, issue 119, pp. 119ra13. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3002882

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