Massage therapy has always been widely used to promote the recovery of injured muscles. But with recent legalization across many states we are now seeing the Cannabis massage movement is taking off. Even the most “high” end luxury spas are offering cannabis-infused services. (pun intended) But is the Cannabis massage combo the answer to inflammation that we have been waiting for?
Nearly any type of massage has the ability to help reduce the pain experienced when our muscles become stressed. Our bodies respond to massage with a variety of biologic reactions associated with reduced inflammation. The exact same thing can be said for Cannabis topicals. While mechanism may vary, both Cannabis and massage work to combat inflammation and thus can help ease pain. By combining the powers of topical cannabis and massage we are seeing that great results can be achieved when aiming to manage inflammation and pain.
How Massage Works on Inflammation
Massage therapy has been shown to help reduce inflammation at the circulatory level. Pro-inflammatory cytokines get released into muscles following intensive exercise. This release of cytokines triggers the subsequent activation of neutrophils (white blood cells), the main type of cells involved in acute inflammation. One study has shown that the increased blood flow achieved by massage may actually slow down the inflammatory response by reducing the amount of time it takes for neutrophils to become activated.
Swedish massage is one of the most effective types of massage for relieving inflammation. This technique uses long strokes and circular motions which tend to really get blood circulating. However, when administered correctly by a professional massage therapists, most styles of massage can successfully reduce inflammation.
How Cannabis Works on Inflammation
Science has shown time and time again that cannabinoids found in Cannabis are able to significantly reduce inflammation. Just like massage, CBD helps to regulate cytokine production and in turn suppress inflammatory responses. THC assists with apoptosis induction, a biological event proven to be extremely important in the control of inflammation. But while CBD and THC play slightly different roles when it comes to regulating inflammation, many studies have proven that these molecules work together synergistically to create a more diverse set of therapeutic benefits.
Whole plant extracted cannabis oil containing both CBD & THC is believed by many to be more beneficial than products containing CBD alone. Terpenes found in Cannabis also carry with them many therapeutic properties that help combat inflammation.Whole plant cannabis extracts containing THC, CBD and terpenes are best when treating pain associated with the inflammatory response.
“the sum of all the parts that leads to the magic or power of cannabis” – Chris Emerson
The Cannabis Massage Combo
Many massage therapists are working solely with hemp-derived CBD products though. While these are more widely available, they only contain trace amounts (<0.3%) of THC. When seeking out Cannabis massage be sure to do your research and find a therapist such as Transcend Bodywork in Portland, Oregon that uses Cannabis derived topicals.