Breakthroughs in massage therapy research

Massage soothes menstrual cramps due to endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which the inner lining of the uterus starts to grow outside the uterus. Among women suffering from endometriosis, the pain during menstruation can be very intense.  In 2010, the Iran Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research reported that massage therapy is one of the most effective and safe ways to get relief from menstrual pains, writes It can help to reduce uterine spasm and cervix cohesion without any side effects.

A study was conducted of 30 women between the ages of 15 and 49 who suffered from painful menstruation due to endometriosis but had no other illnesses. The massage therapy involved providing pressure for two minutes each to 24 specific points of the abdomen and 10 points on the sacrum while hands kept moving on the abdomen, sides, and sacrum. The study showed that massage on various points of abdominal and pelvic soft tissues reduced the pelvic pains. Read more.

Massage aids recovery of damaged limbs

During periods of disuse, such as bed rest or a hospital stay, muscle is lost quickly and is difficult to grow back.  Science Codex reports that research recently published in The Journal of Physiology showed that muscle grew faster after a massage because protein manufactured in cells was improved and that when one leg was massaged, the other non-massaged leg also grew faster.”

The study indicates that massage with very few side effects can aid muscle regrowth after muscle loss. Research found that there also is faster regrowth in the non-massaged muscle. This means that massage potentially could be used in an undamaged limb to help the recovery of a damaged limb.

The researchers who were from the University of Kentucky and Colorado State University conducted the study on rates, who had undergone a period of inactivity to decrease muscle mass. Massage was applied every other day for a week. The muscle was analyzed for the size of the muscle fibers, the manufacture of proteins, the presence of other cells, such as muscle stem cells and communication in the cells that program it to grow. The experiments have not yet been conducted humans. Read more.

Massage and Electrotherapy Improve Muscle Fatigue

Recent research indicates that one-15 minute massage therapy session combined with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations (TENS) each day for two days significantly improved gastrocnemius (leg triceps) muscle fatigue among healthy adult males, reports Massage Magazine. Twenty men in their 20s participated in the study, “Therapeutic effects of massage and electrotherapy on muscle tone, stiffness and muscle contraction following gastrocnemius muscle fatigue.”

Researchers induced gastrocnemius muscle fatigue in the dominant leg of each participant via calf raises. After the onset of muscle fatigue each participant received either 15 minutes of TENS or combined therapy (CT) which involved TENS and massage therapy once a day for two days.

There was no significant difference in the improvements in tone and stiffness between the two groups, but the CT group showed a greater decrease in these two outcome measures on average. Read more.

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