Massage therapy is commonly used to alleviate muscle pain, with or without muscle inflammation. A study published in the Journal of Pain (done by researchers at University of Iowa), however, conclusively demonstrates that deep-tissue massage can reduce musculoskeletal pain associated with exercise, specifically pain experienced after unaccustomed exercise in otherwise healthy adults.
The double-blind, randomized controlled trial consisted of subjects divided into three groups–those who received no massage (the control group); those who had light-touch treatment; and those who received deep-tissue massage. Pain was assessed by measuring soreness and sensitivity to stretch-pain. Assessments were done at baseline, after exercise, then before and after massage treatment. Though there was no drastic difference between those who received light-touch massage and the control group, there was a significant improvement in those who received the deep-tissue massage treatment. Compared to the no-treatment group, the deep-tissue group experienced a significant decrease in both their perception to pain (48.4%) as well as their sensitivity to pain (27.5%).
from Journal of Pain: Massage reduces the perception of pain and hyperalgesia.
Frey Law LA, et al.
J Pain. 2008 Aug;9(8):714-21. Epub 2008 May 2.
Program in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA. USA. firstname.lastname@example.org