Massage & Bodywork

JULY | AUGUST 2018

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46 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j u l y / a u g u s t 2 0 1 8 education SOMATIC RESEARCH Massage Therapy's Potential for Muscle Regrowth and Remodeling By Niki Munk, PhD When I went to massage school in 2001, science, and especially research, was far from my mind. My science knowledge and research awareness broadened a bit during massage school with my first exposure to anatomy and physiology and the research covered in Mosby's Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage, which at the time was primarily studies from the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami and other related scientific concepts. It wasn't until I began my doctoral training in 2006 that I got a true grasp of the depth and breadth of general research. I began devouring any and all massage-related, peer- reviewed, scientific articles. Those of particular interest were the ones covering theoretical and mechanistic underpinnings of massage therapy. Moyer's seminal 2004 review and meta-analysis of extant massage research had recently been published at the start of my doctoral training. 1 At the time, I was struck by which massage therapy–related theories I was taught during massage school were missing in the then-current massage research. Those I felt were missing included, but were not limited to, trigger point "deactivation," the neurological-based Law of Facilitation, and Pflüger's Law of Symmetry. 2 Interested to understand and test these theoretical mechanisms of massage effects, much of my research (all inspired by and devised post-Moyer's 2004 review) is designed around and discusses these "missing" theoretical constructs. However, the extent to which my and others' clinical research can isolate and measure the mechanistic aspects of these theoretical pathways are challenged; foundational work is needed in the basic science/bench research realms (bench research tends to refer to experiments conducted in "wet lab" settings on nonhuman subjects). This issue's Somatic Research column focuses on just such recent research using an animal model that highlights massage's impact via Pflüger's

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