The effect of massage on muscles

By | March 1, 2020

When studying the effect of massage on the neuromuscular apparatus, special attention should be paid to the topographic location of the muscles.

Movement is a complex act of the body, which is carried out by the motor apparatus. The concept of “motor apparatus” includes skeletal muscles, nerve cells that cause their activity – the so-called motor neurons , as well as skeleton bones, joints, ligaments. The skeletal muscle is composed of fibers (cells).

A muscle contracts under the influence of impulses that are transmitted to it along the efferent motor (centrifugal) paths from the central nervous system. The muscle is also innervated by sensory nerves (afferent), the ends of which are proprioreceptors. Excitation of proprioreceptors occurs as a result of contraction and stretching of muscle fibers, for example, under the influence of kneading or passive movements. Impulses from proprioreceptors along afferent nerves are transmitted to the central nervous system and inform it. Motoneuron (motor, efferent nerve), approaching the muscle, branches into many endings – synapses, through which it binds to each muscle fiber.

Massage should be performed on extremely relaxed muscles. A relaxed muscle is soft to the touch and may sag somewhat, despite the presence of a natural tone in it. In a reduced state, the muscle is denser, harder. During massage, the neuromuscular fibers are stretched, as a result of which the influx of proprioreceptive impulses going to the central nervous system increases, which, in turn, leads to reflex changes in the neuromuscular system.

Studying the effect of massage on the indicators of bioelectric activity of muscles, N.A. Belaya (1956, 1962, 1966) and A.A. Biryukov (1974) found an increase in the reduced amplitude of muscle biopotentials after massage on both the massaged (affected) and non-massaged side in patients with lumbosacral and cervicothoracic radiculitis. The authors also revealed a decrease in the manifestations of asymmetries in the indices on the limbs and an increase after massage of decreased muscle tone of the limbs.

An increase in the amplitude of muscle biopotentials under the influence of massage was observed by A. V. Sirotkin (1964) in patients with flaccid paresis in diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system, I.N. Asadchikh (1966) – with hypertensive and hypotonic diseases.


Many researchers indicate an increase in the excitatory processes of the nervous system under the influence of massage, especially kneading techniques, emphasizing the importance of massage as a means of restoring functional muscle failure, combating fatigue and stimulating gas exchange processes in the body.

THEM. Sarkizov-Serazini , M.I. Leikin (1953) and A.A. Biryukov (1973, 1975, 1988), studying the effect of massage on increasing and restoring the performance of tired muscles, came to the conclusion that massage is an active irritant and contributes to maximizing the performance of tired muscles.

Massage in the form of kneading muscles increases the general excitability of the body, reflexively affecting the improvement of the functional state of the brain centers. The stronger and broader the muscle apparatus exposed to massage, the more proprioreceptors are embedded in it, the stronger the afferent impulse , which is also capable of producing more intense shifts in the central nervous system.

In order to restore the performance of tired muscles, it is advisable to massage not only the muscles that are tired during the work, but also the muscles that did not directly participate in the expenditure of physical strength. It is important to know the specialist involved in both sports and therapeutic massage. According to this principle, the technique of a suction massage session is built in the first days of damage or after operations.

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