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Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1999 Oct-Dec;39(7):441-7.

Do cutaneous receptors contribute to the changes in the amplitude of the H-reflex during massage?

Author information

1
Faculté de médecine, Université de Montréal.

Abstract

Massage is known to produce a reduction in spinal reflex excitability. However, the mechanisms subserving this phenomenon have yet to be elucidated. This study was undertaken to determine the role of superficial cutaneoreceptors overlying the triceps surae during the application of a massage. Twelve neurologically healthy volunteers were subjected to an interrupted repeated measures design consisting of eight conditions. Each condition was comprised of eleven H-reflex recordings obtained from the right soleus muscle. Six conditions served to establish baseline control levels, while the remaining two conditions consisted of reflex recordings obtained simultaneous to the application of the massage. During the first massage condition, subjects were at rest while a three minute petrissage was applied to the right triceps surae muscle group. The second massage condition was always preceded by the application of a topical anaesthetic to abolish the sensation to touch and pin-prick to the skin area that was to be massaged. It was expected that the cutaneous afferents would not play any major role in the changes associated with the application of the massage. H-reflex amplitudes recorded during each massage condition (1.20 mV +/- 0.30 SEM, 1.05 mV +/- 0.23 SEM, respectively) were significantly reduced (F7.77 = 26.048, p < 0.01) in contrast to all control conditions (range: 2.21 to 2.63 mV). However, no difference was observed between the two massage conditions. The inhibitory effects of massage on the soleus H-reflex do not appear to originate from mechanical stimulation of cutaneous mechanoreceptors. It seems more likely that deep mechanoreceptors are involved.

PMID:
10546081
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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