Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Healing Massage

Massage boosts repair following muscle injury

01 February 2022

Healing Massage

An indulgent massage does more than just make you feel good – it can actually improve muscle recovery. The extent to which physical stimulation boosts muscle repair following injury is debated, with limited concrete evidence. A new study has examined the process in injured mice, with a precision robotic masseuse applying pressure to injured leg muscles. Researchers observed the response at the cellular level and found that mice treated to the mechanical spa recovered faster. The compression affected the body’s immune activity, clearing out populations of immune cells and their products that protect damaged regions but cause inflammation and impede the growth of new muscle tissue. Massaged tissue (right) showed fibre composition comparable to healthy muscle, and very different to untreated mice (left). This study suggests that treatment helps restore proper muscle function which could improve broad treatment strategies for tissue regeneration, and provide one more reason to treat yourself.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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