Effect of lower limb massage on electromyography and force production of the knee extensors


Hunter A, Watt JM, Watt V & Galloway SD (2006) Effect of lower limb massage on electromyography and force production of the knee extensors. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 40 (2), pp. 114-118.

Objective: To evaluate the effect of massage on force production and neuromuscular recruitment. Methods: Ten healthy male subjects performed isokinetic concentric contractions on the knee extensors at speeds of 60, 120, 180, and 240°/s. These contractions were performed before and after a 30 minute intervention of either rest in the supine position or lower limb massage. Electromyography (EMG) and force data were captured during the contractions. Results: The change in isokinetic mean force due to the intervention showed a significant decrease (p<0.05) at 60°/s and a trend for a decrease (p  =  0.08) at 120°/s as a result of massage compared with passive rest. However, there were no corresponding differences in any of the EMG data. A reduction in force production was shown at 60°/s with no corresponding alteration in neuromuscular activity. Conclusions: The results suggests that motor unit recruitment and muscle fibre conduction velocity are not responsible for the observed reductions in force. Although experimental confirmation is necessary, a possible explanation is that massage induced force loss by influencing “muscle architecture”. However, it is possible that the differences were only found at 60°/s because it was the first contraction after massage. Therefore muscle tension and architecture after massage and the duration of any massage effect need to be examined.

British Journal of Sports Medicine: Volume 40, Issue 2

Publication date28/02/2006
Date accepted by journal26/07/2005
PublisherBMJ Publishing Group