Vigorous exercise causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, leading to an immune reaction — inflammation — as the body gets to work repairing the injured cells. So the researchers screened the tissue from the massaged and unmassaged legs to compare their repair processes and find out what difference massage would make.
Massage causes physiological changes in your body through:
The relaxation response, which is involuntary, yet the predictable response of the nervous system to massage techniques and touch
Mechanical responses, which are physical effects that occur in the body when pressure is applied to the soft tissues
Myofascial release (MFR), which was first described by Andrew Taylor Still and his early students, is a system of techniques that is directed at myofascial structures. Techniques can be described as either direct or indirect. Direct MFR techniques engage the restrictive barrier, and the tissue is then loaded with a constant force until tissue release/relaxation occurs.1 An example of this would be the very common practice of stretching myofascial tissues during warm-up or rehabilitation. Indirect MFR involves gliding the dysfunctional tissues along the path of least resistance (away from the barrier) until free movement is achieved.1