Listed in Issue 274


DOMINGO and COLLEAGUES, 1. School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, College of Health and Human Services, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA.


Massage therapy has historically been used as a therapeutic treatment to help reduce pain and promote relaxation. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of therapeutic massage on the upper trapezius muscles, which are commonly associated with increased muscle tension.


This was a randomized crossover study. Seventeen healthy individuals (nine women; 24.5±4.0 years) participated in the study. All individuals participated in two sessions that were held 24 h apart. In one of the sessions, the participants received a moderate pressure massage applied to the shoulders and neck. In the other session, participants sat quietly. The order of the sessions was counterbalanced across participants. Muscle activity, as measured by surface electromyography, of the upper trapezius muscles was recorded. The amount of muscle activity change following massage was compared with the change in muscle activity following quiet sitting.


Muscle activity of the upper trapezius reduced significantly (19.3%; P=0.004) following massage compared with muscle activity following quiet sitting (1.0%). Our findings suggest that short-duration moderate pressure massage leads to a reduction in upper trapezius muscle activity.


This result has potential implications for clinical populations such as those with chronic neck pain.


Domingo AR1, Diek M, Goble KM, Maluf KS, Goble DJ, Baweja HS. Short-duration therapeutic massage reduces postural upper trapezius muscle activity. Neuroreport. 28(2):108-110. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000718. Jan 18 2017.


The above study indicated that short-duration moderate pressure massage reduced upper trapezius muscle activity and may have potential therapeutic clinical benefit in the treatment of chronic neck pain.

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