For many of us, it’s reserved as an occasional treat or a way to heal an injury. Now there’s evidence that massage therapy can help ease sore muscles and improve blood flow for people who are active as well as for those who do not exercise.
Researchers found those effects can last for more than 72 hours, and people with poor circulation or limited ability to move are among those who could benefit most. For the study they divided volunteers in three groups – two groups exercised – one didn’t. One of the exercising groups received massage and so did the group that did not exercise.
The people who got the massage after exercise had no soreness 90 minutes later. Those in the group that didn’t were sore 24 hours after they exercised.
But researchers say the big surprise was that people in the massage-only group, showed the same improvement in circulation as the exercise and massage group. And the participants’ blood flow was changed far away from the sore muscles suggesting that massage benefits are systemic and not confined to one specific area of the body.
The study is published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.