Science is always upgrading and changing, we are discovering new and more detailed concepts, and some old concepts are being debunked! This info is from an article in Runner’s World magazine.
Old belief: massage helps to flush toxins and lactic acid out of the muscles which reduces soreness.
New Concept: massage applies moving pressure to muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and other tissues, causing them to relax. It also removes adhesions between muscles and fascia (stuck places) which allows for easier joint movement and more pain free activity.
Massage after exercise reduces delayed onset muscle soreness, improves immune function and reduces inflammation. Massage can increase the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells that help fight infection) and decrease cortisol levels. (the stress hormone linked to chronic inflammation)
Studies (Justin Crane Ph.D. McMaster University) indicate that massaged limbs have less inflammation and more of a gene that helps muscle cells build mitochondria, which turn the cell’s food into energy and facilitates repair.
This leads scientists to believe that massage can help runners tolerate harder training, more training, and that it shortens recovery time needed.
So massage treatments during training can help you train more efficiently and recover more quickly.
(massage right before a race should be light to avoid sore or overworked feeling muscles)