Imagine an open door falling into a quiet, candle lit room enveloped by the faintest scent of nature, reminiscent of country trips during childhood. A soothing, rhythmic beat gently, yet calmly caresses the senses as your eyes fall across crisp, fresh linen, plush warm towels & a thick, sumptuous robe artfully arranged atop a deep, cushioned table.
You’ve just entered the spa & already the anxiety, stress & tension is beginning to ebb & you know that this moment is one designed for you & you alone. Your thoughts fall away. Your mind quiets. Utter bliss awaits. Massage feels good because the power of touch therapy signals the brain to release feel-good endorphins boosting your mood. Mindfulness is heightened & you become completely connected with the experience as muscle tension is released & the scent of essential oils promotes deep relaxation & sleep. Wonderful. And just for you.
Whether after vigorous exercise or to address a specific condition, a massage simply feels amazing. Sports people & health professionals have long contended massage eases inflammation, improves blood flow & reduces muscle tightness.
While more research is required, a group of clever scientists recently shed a glimmer of insight about why massage has an apparent beneficial effect. A rstudy published in the Science Translational Medicine took a leg biopsy of 11 subjects at rest. A second biopsy was conducted after vigorous exercise followed by a 10-minute massage. A final biopsy was taken after 2.5 hours rest to track the process of muscle injury & repair.
The researchers found that massage reduced the production of cytokines, which play a role in inflammation (& pain). Furthermore massage stimulated mitochondria, which convert glucose into energy that is essential for cell function & repair.
The bottom line - massage appears to suppress inflammation & enhances cell recovery. So getting a professional massage may enhance recovery. It's a wonderful start to furthering our understanding of why & how massage appears to work.
There are numerous theories about how massage therapy may affect the body. For example, the "gate control theory" suggests that massage may provide stimulation that helps to block pain signals sent to the brain.
Other theories suggest that massage might stimulate the release of certain chemicals in the body, such as serotonin or endorphins, or cause beneficial mechanical changes in the body. However, additional studies are needed to test the various theories.
Note: MojoGuru does not recommend any treatment, therapy or particular provider. We do not recommend that you self-diagnose. If you are suffering from a health condition and before starting a new treatment or therapy, we do recommend that you first consult a GP. More