Did you know that when you exercise heavily your muscle fibres can become ‘damaged’ and can sustain micro tears?
This is actually a normal response to exercise, especially when exercising to the point of exhaustion as this is how we build our muscles to become bigger and stronger. Basically, load the muscles and they will adapt and get stronger.
It is just a pity we have to put up with muscle soreness after these workouts huh!
Well, there is actually some things that can help with this. Sports Massage has been shown to decrease the effects of exercise-induced muscle damage and help you recover faster from it. I reviewed an article recently on this topic and found it very interesting, so I have written a summary below to give you insight into the benefits of massage and how it could help you with your training and recovery.
A recent study (link) validated the usefulness of massage for recovery and how it affects muscles on a biological level. They documented the changes at a cellular level of the muscle cells in the legs of 11 young men who had just pushed themselves to physical exhaustion with heavy exercise. After a short 10min massage treatment on 1 leg, signalling pathways responsive to mechanical stresses were activated.
They found that after a short 10-minute massage treatment on 1 leg, signalling pathways responsive to mechanical stresses were activated. This, in turn, reduced signs of inflammation and cellular stress which meant the massaged muscle cells were better able to create more mitochondria. The mitochondria of the cell and the energy production organs and so this allows healing of the muscle would be accelerated.
Biopsies were taken from the treated muscles, before and after the treatment and were assessed for all sorts of complex biochemical changes. In summary, they were able to suggest that the perceived positive effects of massage therapy are a result of a decreased production of inflammatory cytokines (a type of signalling molecule excreted by immune cells that promote inflammation), which may reduce pain by the same mechanism as conventional anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAID’s (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
These results explain the biological effects of massage on skeletal muscle and provide further evidence that manipulative tissue therapies can be justifiable in health care. A huge step in the right direction for Massage Therapy and just shows how beneficial a regular massage can be to your training 🙂
Give us a call to book in your Sports Massage and perform better!