Massage Works: Improves Blood Flow, Eases Soreness
Massage may be another pleasure of the pampered class, but unlike some other pleasures, it does some serious good. How do we know? Because researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago asked 36 healthy young adults to use a leg press machine until their legs became sore, then gave half the group a Swedish leg massage, and had all of the participants rate their muscle soreness on a scale from one to 10. A third comparison group didn’t exercise, but got a massage. HealthDay reports that while both exercise groups were sore right after their workout, the people who got the massage had no soreness 90 minutes later. Those in the group that didn’t receive a massage on the other hand said they were sore 24 hours after they exercised. When the researchers measured the participants’ “brachial artery flow mediated dilation” in their arms, they found that those who got a massage after they exercised had improved blood flow at every testing interval and the benefits of the massage didn’t dissipate until after 72 hours had passed. Those who did not receive a massage after exercise had reduced blood flow after 90 minutes and returned to normal levels at 72 hours.