Health Notes: Massage reduces inflammation, hula hooping great workout

In SNEWS Health Notes, we take a look at recent health research that might be pertinent to your business. In this report, SNEWS takes a look at two studies, one which concludes massage reduces muscle inflammation, and another that proves hula hooping as effective as kick boxing.

You want the latest information about health, physical activity, exercise and wellness, but perhaps you’d rather not wade through the techno-science garble that makes most reports hard to read, let alone understand or pass on to customers. In SNEWS Health Notes, an occasional series, we take a look at recent research that is pertinent to your business and explain it in a way that makes sense. If you have suggestions or comments, let us know by emailing

>>Massage encourages muscle recovery after exercise

It might seem like common sense to athletes and vigorous exercisers, but researchers at McMaster University have confirmed that a simple 10-minute massage helps reduce inflammation of muscles post exercise, according to a study recently published in the Feb. 1 issues of Science Translational Medicine.

The study followed 11 men in their twenties. The men had their exercise capacity assessed, and weeks later were asked to bicycle to the point of exhaustion, which had to be at least 70 minutes. During a brief 10-minute rest, the men had just one leg massaged. A few hours later, researchers did a muscle biopsy and found the massaged leg was less inflamed than the leg that hadn’t been massaged. 

“I didn’t think that little bit of massage could produce that remarkable of a change, especially since the exercise was so robust. Seventy minutes of exercise compared to 10 of massage, it is clearly potent,” Justin Crane, a doctoral student in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster, said in a news release. The effect on the muscles was the same as some pain medications, Crane noted.

So what? Accessories are a good for some specialty fitness retailers, and self massagers from companies like Moji or Tiger Tail are affordable for customers. Carrying such products might encourage your customers to make that last impulse buy near the register.

For the scientifically minded: Abstract (for free) can be found here. The full article (for a fee) here.

>>Hula hooping found to be an effective workout

Apparently hula hooping is all the rage among celebrities like Beyonce, Marissa Tomei and even First Lady Michelle Obama, according to the American Council on Exercise. And according to a recent study sponsored by ACE, it’s a very effective workout.

Researchers gathered 16 female volunteers between the ages of 16 and 59, all of whom had some hooping skills (intermediate to advanced skills). After a warm-up period, the participants each wore a portable oxygen analyzer and Polar heart-rate monitor while they hooped along to a video developed by Hooked on Hooping’s Mary Pulak.

During their workouts, researchers measured their heart rate and oxygen consumption at one-minute intervals. The workouts were found to burn an average of seven calories per minute, and participants said the workout was “somewhat hard” on the Borg Scale of perceived exertion. This is a similar calorie burn as a step aerobics or cardio kickboxing class, researchers said. 

“Before we did the study, I didn’t imagine the heart-rate averages would be so high,” Researcher Jordan Holthusen said in an ACE article. “I was really impressed by how intense of a workout you can get hooping and how many calories you can burn.”

So what? As previously stated, accessories are good for business, and since women have a tremendous buying power (as SNEWS previously reported), retailers would be wise to carry hula hoops as accessories. Look into Empower Fitness’ weighted hula hoop, which comes in fun, girly colors. 

For the scientifically minded: The free ACE article can be found here.