Even 10 Minutes Can Help

Researchers have discovered that even a brief massage can help reduce inflammation – not only for athletes, but for patients dealing with chronic health conditions.

Massage for inflammation

Massage for inflammation

A recent study at McMaster University tracked the health and exercise capacity of men in their 20s. After establishing a baseline two weeks prior to testing, the men rode bicycles for more than 70 minutes to the point of exhaustion.

After a resting period, massage therapists lightly applied massage oils to both legs, then performed a 10-minute massage on one leg using various rehabilitation techniques.

Then, muscle biopsies were taken from both legs after 10 minutes and 150 minutes, respectively, and compared to samples taken previously.

To their surprise, researchers discovered reduced inflammation in the leg that had been massaged. They found that massage assisted at the cellular level “by dampening the expression of inflammatory cytokines in the muscle cells and promoting biogenesis of mitochrondria, which are the energy-producing units in the cells.”

Moreover, scientists believe the inflammation-fighting power of massage may mirror the same mechanisms that are targeted by anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs – all without the side effects of medication.

An interesting sidenote: During their research, scientists discovered evidence that disproved the long-assumed notion that massage clears lactic acid from tired muscles.

Suggestions for your massage practice

1. Discuss the benefits of using massage therapy instead of drugs with your clients regularly.

2. Use health-promoting aromatherapy and essential oils to enhance the benefits of massage for your clients.


Science Translational Medicine


Melissa Wood, ND