New research conducted at the McMaster University in Canada has indicated that apart from inducing deep relaxation, kneading sore muscles after a vigorous exercise can help them recover faster.
The scientists, through a series of experiments on young test subjects, have found that massaging sore muscles affected the activity of certain genes in the body. These genes were found to have a direct impact on reduced inflammation of the concerned muscles. In fact, this gene-stimulating technique reportedly has the same effect on sore muscles that drugs like Ibuprofen or Aspirin boast.
Researchers tested 11 young men, who were asked to undergo exhaustive aerobic exercises by riding stationary bikes till they reached the point of exhaustion. After the completion of the sessions, each subject was given a Swedish-style massage on one of their legs. The other received no such treatment and was treated as point of comparison. The test subjects then underwent gene-profiling techniques in order to check the chemical changes in their muscle cells.
According to CBS News, the massage had a two-fold impact.
The first impact was that it switched the genes involved in inflammation reduction. In addition, it activated the genes that promote the creation of mitochondria - structures that are the energy factories inside cells. The fitter a muscle cell is... the more mitochondria it tends to have.