Massage - Neurophysiological Effect Summary
- Imaging yourself banging your knee to a chair. Often times, our initial
reaction is to rub or massage our knee to make it feel better. Why do we do this?
- Referring to the gate control theory, massaging our knee after
trauma stimulates the A-beta fiber. Doing this leads to suppression of the painful stimulus (in this case banging of the knee), and result in reduced pain.
Massage - Neurophysiological Effect Background Information
- There are three fiber types in the human body, and each fiber type
optimally responds to one particular stimulus, including pain, temperature, or touch.
- The A-beta fiber optimally responds to the non-noxious mechanical
stimulus (e.g. massage).
- The A-delta fiber optimally responds to the noxious mechanical stimulus
- The C fiber optimally responds to the noxious heat and chemical stimulus
Massage - Neurophysiological Effect Evidence
- Pain arises from stimulation of nociceptors (sensory receptor for pain).
This may occur mechanically from a trauma, or chemically from inflammation.
- Referring to the gate control theory, massage and other soft
tissue techniques stimulate the A-beta fiber, which activates our inhibitory interneuron in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord. Activation of the inhibitory interneuron reduces transmission of noxious stimuli (painful stimuli) to the spinal cord and subsequent brain, thus leading to decreased pain.
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Steveston Medi Spa offers various massage services to help you relieve
pain, and return to optimal functioning. Our goal here at Steveston Medi Spa is to help you get back to work, sport, and activities of daily living without pain and stress.
1. Moseley GL, Butler D. Explain Pain Supercharged. Adelaide: Noigroup
2. Melzack R, Wall PD. Pain Mechanisms: A New Theory. Science. 1965;150:
3. IASP Terminology. International Association for the Study of Pain Web
1698. Accessed March 27, 2019.
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