Share this article on:

Lower Limb Massage Increases Skeletal Muscle Blood Flow in Young Women: 1411Board #147 June 1 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Symons, T. Brock; Munk, Niki; Shang, Yu; Cheng, Ran; Yu, Guoqiang

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2011 - Volume 43 - Issue 5 - p 295
doi: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000400811.19193.54
A-41 Free Communication/Poster - Skeletal Muscle: Aging and Sex Differences: JUNE 1, 2011 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM: ROOM: Hall B

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY. (Sponsor: Jody L. Clasey, FACSM)


(No relationships reported)

An increase in skeletal muscle blood flow is often acknowledged as a potential positive effect of massage therapy (MT). Studies examining this phenomenon are inconclusive, possibly due to inadequate methodologies for the assessment of tissue blood flow. Near-infrared diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) is an innovative non-invasive technology that allows for the continuous assessment of blood flow in skeletal muscle tissue. When combined with near-infrared diffuse optical spectroscopy (NIRS), continuous skeletal muscle blood flow and skeletal muscle oxygenation properties can be obtained.

PURPOSE: To determine the acute hemodynamic response of skeletal muscle following lower limb massage in young women (n=11; 27±5yrs) via a novel hybrid DCS/NIRS instrument.

METHODS: Participants laid in a prone position and combined DCS and NIRS optical sensors were placed on the gastrocnemius muscles of both lower limbs. Following 5 minutes of baseline measurement, the study massage therapist began a specific 8-minute MT procedure on the left lower limb. This included broad effleurage and petrissage strokes, and muscle striping and friction strokes. Skeletal muscle hemodynamics were measured for 20 minutes following the MT procedure.

RESULTS: Relative skeletal muscle blood flow increased 56.6% (p<0.001) immediately following lower limb massage. Relative blood flow remained elevated throughout the 20-minute post-massage period at 5, 10, 15 and 20 minutes (p<0.004). Oxygen saturation was increased across the 20-minute post-massage recovery period in both limbs (p<0.001). Total hemoglobin concentration was increased immediately following lower limb massage in the control limb (control limb = 3.4±9.4μM vs. massage limb = -1.1±2.3μM; p<0.003) because of a change in oxyhemoglobin concentration.

CONCLUSIONS: Eight minutes of lower limb massage consisting of common massage techniques altered lower limb skeletal muscle hemodynamics in young women. Principally, the MT procedure increased relative skeletal muscle blood in the lower limb immediately post-massage and for the entire 20-minute post-massage recovery period.

© 2011 American College of Sports Medicine