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Percept Mot Skills. 1991 Apr;72(2):575-84.

Autonomic and skeletal muscle responses to nonelectrical cutaneous stimulation.

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Psychophysiology Research 151J, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Sepulveda, CA 91343.


Cutaneous stimulation has had a long history as a method of pain control. While there is general agreement that modern techniques such as electrical stimulation and massage often provide relief from acute pain and may in some cases significantly affect chronic pain, the mechanism by which these techniques affect pain remains unclear. Significant attention has been focused on the effects of stimulation on the autonomic nervous system (ANS) along with the increasing evidence of important ANS modulation of nociceptive activity throughout the pain pathway. However, inconsistent results on the presence and direction of ANS changes from cutaneous stimulation characterize the recent literature. The present study investigated a nonelectrical cutaneous stimulation device, the Dermapoints Massageroller, as well as an active placebo massage. The results indicate that the Dermapoints Massageroller has both general effects associated with simple skin stimulation (such as increased skin temperature), as well as specific effects from increased stimulation by the toothed design of the roller. These specific effects include decreased muscle tension (at least for some muscle sites) and increased sympathetic activation. The results are consistent with a model of activation of Pacinian receptors as a possible mechanism for the antinociceptive properties of cutaneous stimulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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