Determining the Benefits of Massage Mechanisms: A Review of Literature
Rehabilitation Science
Volume 2, Issue 3, August 2017, Pages: 58-67
Received: Apr. 26, 2017; Accepted: May 3, 2017; Published: May 27, 2017
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Qais Gasibat, Faculty of Medicine, Sport Science and Rehabilitation, Sultan Zainal Abidin University, Gong Badak Campus, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Wurida Suwehli, Faculty of Medical Technology, Physiotherapy, High Institute of Medical Technology, Misurata, Libya
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Many coaches, athletes, and sports medicine professionals hold the perception, based on observations and encounters, that massage can provide several benefits to the body. These include improved blood flow, reduced muscle pressure and neurological excitability, and increased sense of well being. Massage can produce mechanical pressure, which is expected to increase muscle mass, compliance, resulting in increased collection of joint motion, decreased unaggressive stiffness, and decreased energetic stiffness, known as biomechanical mechanisms. Mechanised pressure might help to enhance blood circulation by increasing the arteriolar pressure, and accumulating muscle tissue temperature from rubbing. Regarding the massage technique, mechanical pressure on the muscle is likely to increase or decrease nerve organs excitability as measured by H-reflex, which is known as neurological mechanisms. This is seen in parasympathetic activity (as assessed by heart rate, blood pressure, and heart rate variability) and junk levels (as simply measured by cortisol levels following therapeutic massage, causing a relaxation response), known as physiological mechanisms. A reduction in anxiety and an improvement in mood condition also cause relaxation, which is referred to as psychological mechanisms after the massage. Post-exercise, therapeutic massage has been recognized to lessen the severity of muscle soreness, but massage does not have any effects on muscle practical loss. Nevertheless, regarding the belief that massage therapy has benefits for sports athletes, there are no clear effects of different types of massage (Petrissage, Effleurage, Friction) or the appropriate timing of massage (pre-exercise and post-exercise) on performance, recovery from injury, or as a personal injury prevention method. Explanations are lacking because the mechanisms of each massage technique have not been broadly investigated. Therefore, this article investigates the possible mechanisms of massage and provides a discourse on the limited evidence of therapeutic massage on performance, recovery, and muscle injury prevention. The main purpose of this article is to examine mechanisms of massage and its benefits in performance, muscle recovery, and injury prevention. This study may help coaches, sport and health professionals, and researchers to understand massage mechanisms and benefits for performance, muscle recovery, and injury prevention.
Massage benefits, Massage mechanism, Blood Flow, Massage Technique
To cite this article
Qais Gasibat, Wurida Suwehli, Determining the Benefits of Massage Mechanisms: A Review of Literature, Rehabilitation Science. Vol. 2, No. 3, 2017, pp. 58-67. doi: 10.11648/
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This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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