Massage & Bodywork

JULY | AUGUST 2018

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A B M P m e m b e r s e a r n F R E E C E a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e b y r e a d i n g M a s s a g e & B o d y w o r k m a g a z i n e 49 SOMATIC RESE ARCH It is incredibly important that the massage therapy field cite and apply this study's results appropriately. For example, it would not be appropriate for a massage therapist to claim, based on this study (or any other study for that matter), that a particular massage technique or session they provide will regrow muscle or reduce muscle atrophy. This research does not prove that massage therapy reduces or reverses muscle atrophy in humans. There are still a lot of questions that need answering about the mechanisms this study's results occurred through, as well as application specifics regarding human delivery and treatment receipt for human muscles. However, this work does provide exciting evidence to support similar massage therapy benefit in humans. Massage therapists and educators can also point to this research to highlight massage therapy's potential role in functional health support for humans, including rehabilitation populations. I look forward to the future work examining massage therapy's mechanistic pathways and the clinical human studies this work is sure to inspire. I will do my best to keep readers posted! Notes 1. C. A. Moyer, J. Rounds, and J. W. Hannum, "A Meta-Analysis of Massage Therapy Research," Psychological Bulletin 130, no. 1 (2004): 3–18. 2. D. G. Simons, J. G. Travell, and L. S. Simons, Travell & Simons' Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, Volume 1: Upper Half of the Body, 2nd ed. (Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1998); Segen's Medical Dictionary, "law of facilitation," accessed May 2018, https://medical-dictionary. thefreedictionary.com/law+of+facilitation; Mosby's Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, ed. Wayne B. Jonas, "Pfluger's law of symmetry," accessed May 2018, https://medical-dictionary. thefreedictionary.com/Pfluger%27s+law+of+symmetry. 3. B. Miller et al., "Enhanced Skeletal Muscle Regrowth and Remodelling in Massaged and Contralateral Non-Massaged Hindlimb," The Journal of Physiology 596, no. 1 (January 2018): 83–103. 4. T. A. Butterfield et al., "Cyclic Compressive Loading Facilitates Recovery After Eccentric Exercise," Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 40, no. 7 (2008): 1289–96; C. Waters-Banker, T. A. Butterfield, and E. E. Dupont-Versteegden, "Immunomodulatory Effects of Massage on Nonperturbed Skeletal Muscle in Rats," Journal of Applied Physiology 116, no. 2 (January 2014): 164–75. Niki Munk, PhD, LMT, is an assistant professor of health sciences at Indiana University, a Kentucky-licensed massage therapist, a visiting fellow with the Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, and mother of two young daughter-scientists. Munk's research explores real-world massage therapy for chronic pain, trigger point self-care, massage for amputation-related sequelae, and the reporting and impact of massage-related case reports. Contact her at nmunk@iu.edu. Massage therapists and educators can point to this research to highlight massage therapy's potential role in functional health support for humans, including rehabilitation populations. techniques and in countless situations. For example, many people are in situations every day in which muscle atrophy is induced. Whether due to an accident, functional decline, illness, or recovery necessity, people are in situations in which their muscles are immobilized or cannot be used, and atrophy can set in. This is particularly concerning for those working with the elderly population because of atrophy's role in the cyclical relationship of functional decline and falls/fear of falling and link to increased mortality risk. The opposite limb and crossover aspect of this work is particularly intriguing and my expectation to see Pflüger's Law of Symmetry applied in massage research is finally met, even though the actual term is not used. In essence, this crossover effect, or Pflüger's Law of Symmetry, states that if the right amount of force is applied to the muscle on one side of the body, the neurological impulse to produce the same effect will cross over to the other corresponding muscle. In practice, I have always thought of this and applied it in my treatment planning when faced with a situation in which I was unable to directly address an area in direct need. While I didn't necessarily apply the concept with the intention to enhance muscle regrowth, growth, or otherwise, I did apply the concept with the intent for the work's benefit to transfer to the corresponding area on the other side of the body. For example, when my friend called me concerned about her husband's excruciating cramps in his casted leg, I advised her to assist him to stretch and massage his other leg in the areas that were giving him trouble. This approach was very helpful for him and provides anecdotal support to this theoretical approach to massage application.

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