Recent published results have supported the fact that massage after excessive exercise reverses resultant inflammatory activity, muscle damage and mitochondrial destruction. In a 2012 research article by Crane, et al, eleven young men exercised to exhaustion on a treadmill. Following this one thigh was massaged for ten minutes and they were then biopsied on the anterior aspect of both thighs. These biopsies showed breakdown of muscle tissue, release of inflammatory substances and breakdown of cellular energy centers. Two-and-one-half hours later the biopsies were repeated. On the thigh that was not massaged the process of muscle breakdown, inflammatory release and loss of cellular energy centers had progressed, while on the massaged thighs all of this had reversed itself.
Recent research done by Reed and Rubin demonstrates the importance of interstitial fluid pressure in establishing and regulating inflammatory responses and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. There is evidence that general massage reverses chronic inflammation. Looking at these factors, several potentially useful tissue massage techniques offer interesting treatment possibilities for chronic pain and inflammation. Gently milking swollen tissue toward the heart with light pressure may help reduce local swelling, inflammation and pain, by increasing local interstitial fluid pressure. Another technique of gently anchoring a finger or thumb on a myofascial trigger point and while maintaining that anchor rubbing vertically, horizontally and in both diagonal directions every four strokes in the pattern of the British Union Jack has relieved the pain of these trigger points, without deeper and more painful approaches. Use of pressure clothing and bandages may help to raise interstitial fluid pressure at injury sites in the periphery.