Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Benefits of Post-Run Massage

We all know that massage feels good after a run, whether it is self-massage, the use of a foam roller, or massage from a professional.  But does it actually speed recovery? 

One recent scientific study suggests the answer is yes.  Somehow, the scientists managed to convince a group of young men to engage in vigorous exercise for an hour, have one leg massaged but not the other, and then to have both legs biopsied at various intervals, so that the scientists could determine how massage affected the tissues.  The scientists found that the massage reduced the production of certain chemicals that cause soreness, while also stimulating the production of mitochondria.

On the other hand, it is worth pointing out that previous studies have shown that -- contrary to popular belief -- massage impedes blood flow, and impairs the removal of lactic issue from muscle tissue.  (But then again, lactic acid may be a fuel, not a caustic waste product.)

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