Can Massage Control Inflammation?

I wish I would have gotten more massages during my competitive lifting years! Yes that’s really me!

Whether you’re an elite athlete, weekend warrior or just very busy, you have likely experienced inflammation due to overuse or injury.

And if you suffer from asthma or rheumatoid arthritis, you’re probably very familiar with chronic inflammation.

The good news is that massage therapy can likely offer some relief.

Inflammation by itself is not a bad thing. After all, it is the body’s way of responding to cellular damage and is its way to begin the internal healing process.

But inflammation is not a very comfortable state to be in and acute inflammation left unchecked can become a major problem.

For the minor acute cases – usually from exerting ourselves just a little harder than we should have (perhaps while trying to keep up with our kids) – evidence suggests that massage may reduce the inflammation of skeletal muscle damaged through exercise.

A study conducted by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Ontario found that at the cellular level, massage therapy may fight inflammation in a way similar to anti-inflammatory medications.

While some medical researchers have scoffed at the study’s claims for affecting inflammation, they still acknowledged the benefits of massage therapy helping someone suffering from inflammation feel better – which is never a bad thing.

And for those dealing with chronic inflammation, stress and anxiety are known contributing factors, so regular massage can certainly aid in reducing stress that leads to inflammation.

Other known remedies include eating more omega-3 fatty acids that help dial down overeager white blood cells that respond and lead to inflammation, eating more fruits and vegetables that are chock-full of anti-inflammatory agents, and getting regular exercise (but not overdoing it to the point of creating more inflammation).

One of the best inflammation-fighting herbs out there is parsley. While you probably sprinkle this in your pasta sauce, here is a smoothie featuring parsley that not only tastes fabulous but also gives you a solid dose of this wonderfully healthy herb:

1 cup crushed ice

1 cup fresh chopped pineapple

½ cup packed parsley (rough chop is fine)

1 cup juice (orange, mango or apple)

1 inch fresh ginger

3 mint leaves

Mix all ingredients together in a blender until smooth and thick (1-2 minutes). Enjoy!

Thank You Mark Volkmann for this amazing article.

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