massage and skin health

The Effect of Massage on Skin Health and Regeneration

Skin Health

massage and skin healthMassage is commonly promoted to enhance skin health by increasing its ability to regenerate and improving its elasticity and resilience. However, there is no research study to back up this claim. Skin regeneration, which is essential to skin health, is a complex process, which is difficult to monitor. Perhaps one avenue to substantiate this claim is to evaluate the possible effects of massage as a skin angiogenesis-initiating factor, in other words, its ability to increase the formation of new capillaries from the existing vascular network.

Angiogenesis

Angiogenesis (the formation of new capillaries) is the key element in wound healing and tissue regeneration, and therefore likely essential to skin health. It is a complex process regulated by many factors. A study from Poland investigated the effect of skin massage on stimulating the expression of angiogenesis-initiating factors, for example, VEGF-A, FGF-2 (bFGF) and CD34 and on skin regeneration processes. These markers are known as the most important angiogenesis-stimulating factors.

Study

The study was conducted on 48 Buffalo strain rats, randomly divided into two groups: massage treatment group and control group. In the treatment group, massage was applied five times a week for seven weeks. Massage consisted of spiral movements on the ventral surface of the skin for five minutes on each rear extremity. The gene expression of proangiogenic factors, including VEGF-A, FGF-2, and CD34, at the mRNA level was determined using a technique known as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Immunohistochemistry was performed on paraffin sections of rat skin to determine VEGF-A, FGF-2 CD34 and Ki-67 expression.

Results

The results showed an increase in mRNA expression in the skin of the rat’s rear extremity for VEGF-A and FGF-2 in the first week of the experiment in the massage group compared with the control rats. The upregulation of CD34 mRNA expression was also observed in the massage group. Whereas the immunohistochemical expression of VEGF-A, FGF-2 and CD34 was at a much lower level in the skin of control rats relative to the skin of massaged animals. Moreover, significantly higher immunoreactivity was shown for nuclear protein Ki-67 in epidermal cells in the massage group.

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Conclusion

The authors concluded that massage of rat skin increased the expression of the main angiogenesis-stimulating factors and the proliferative activity of epidermal cells, which can stimulate skin regeneration and tissue repairing processes. By extension, massage should be beneficial to skin health. Of course, the applicability of this finding to human is still speculative, but it is promising.

Comment by Joseph Muscolino

If the results of this study are applicable to humans, as they likely are, then massage would be beneficial to skin health. This is another study that bolsters the claim that soft tissue manipulation, in other words massage, is not only effective for the treatment of myofascioskeletal conditions, but also for other aspects of the health of the human body. This would seem to make sense in that massage would affect circulation, which is fundamental to the nourishment and therefore health of cells, and the effect of touch on the nervous system would certainly seem to have far-reaching effects!

This blog post article was created in collaboration with www.terrarosa.com.au.

(Click here for the blog post article: Neuromuscular Taping Reduces Blood Pressure in System Arterial Hypertension.)

Did you know that Digital COMT (Digital Clinical Orthopedic Manual Therapy), Dr. Joe Muscolino’s video streaming subscription service for manual and movement therapists, has six separate folders with video lessons on Manual Therapy Treatment? Digital COMT adds seven new video lessons each and every week. And nothing ever goes away! Click here for more information.

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