Can Massage Reduce Inflammation?

Inflammation is a popular subject these days. With its suspected role in autoimmune disease, cancer, heart disease and other health issues, the attention is largely deserved. But did you know that inflammation is actually a crucial part of the immune system, enabling the body to defend itself against infection and injury? Without inflammation, even the simplest health problems would likely lead to death.

If inflammation is such a beneficial immune response, why all the fuss?

First, it is important to understand the two types of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is a short term process in a localized area of the body, caused by infection or injury. Symptoms include pain, redness, heat and swelling. Acute inflammation allows the body to heal. Chronic inflammation occurs when your body remains on alert even without the presence of a threat. It can damage tissue and organs and can lead to DNA damage, tissue death and internal scarring.

Researchers are still investigating the causes and appropriate treatment for harmful inflammation, but there have been a number of studies pointing to the benefits of massage therapy on both acute and chronic inflammation.

One such study from Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario suggests that muscle damage caused by exercise can be benefited by reducing inflammation through massage. Lead author Mark Tarnopolsky, surmises that the benefits of massage go beyond muscle injury and may also help a wider range of individuals, including musculoskeletal injuries and chronic inflammatory diseases.

We know that massage therapy works to quiet the sympathetic nervous system and increase circulation, thereby removing fluid from tissue and reducing inflammation. While additional research is needed to expand understanding of all the positive effects, the results are very encouraging.

Are you suffering from a chronic inflammatory disease or have an injury that may benefit from massage? Our trained nursing/therapist staff would love you help you!