Tarnopolsky D. J Science translational medicine. nccm.nih.gov 2010
Massage not only feels good and produces a relaxation response but appears to promote new mitochondria growth in skeletal muscle. Investigators analyzed biopsies from the quadriceps of men who exercised on bikes to exhaustion. After the exercise one leg was massaged. A second biopsy was taken at 25 hours post the (10) minute massage. The researchers found that massage reduced the activity of inflammation-inducing cytokines in the muscle cells and promoted new mitochondria. This pain reduction may involve similar mechanisms as those targeted by common NSAIDs.