A treatment with roller-massager improves the oxygenation of the upper trapezius muscle: a single-subject research design study

Schneebeli, Alessandro and Cruder, Cinzia and Clijsen, Ron and Lihui, Li and Barbero, Marco (2018) A treatment with roller-massager improves the oxygenation of the upper trapezius muscle: a single-subject research design study. UNSPECIFIED. In: XXII Congress of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology (ISEK), 30/6-2/7/2018, Dublin.

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BACKGROUND AND AIM: The Roller Massager is a dense foam cylinder with a wavy surface that clinicians use to increase muscle extensibility and reduce muscle pain. Even though some authors have suggested that the friction occurring during the cycling compression might induce an increase of muscle temperature and change the fascia into a more liquid state, the underlying mechanism of the Roller Massager is still unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a single treatment of roller-massager on the oxygenation of the upper trapezius muscle. It was hypothesized that the Roller Massager treatment increases the muscle oxygenation. METHODS: An ABCABC single-subject design with multiple-treatment was used to examine the effects of two interventions. Three healthy volunteers (1,2,3) underwent six consecutive sessions, 2 to 4 days apart. During each session, the upper trapezius muscle oxygenation (SmO2) was measured three times using the Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS). SmO2 of the upper trapezius muscle was measured according to a standard protocol including: subject’s positioning, NIRS placement, duration of the NIRS measurements and intra-session timing for NIRS measurements. Session A did not include any treatment and was used to identify the baseline values of the SmO2. Session B included a 3 minutes Roller Massager treatment of the upper trapezius muscle. The Roller Massager device included a sensor to control the pressure exerted (approx. 2kg) on the muscle. Session C included three consecutive submaximal isometric contractions of the upper trapezius muscle. During session B and C, SmO2 was recorded before the treatment, immediately after treatment and 8 minutes after treatment. SmO2 values were assessed visually and statistically by using the two-standard deviation band method. RESULTS: The SmO2 values were stable during the two A sessions and during the pre-treatment measurements of sessions B and C. The SmO2 significantly increased after the Roller Massager treatment and persisted for 8 minutes. No significant SmO2 improvement was observed after the submaximal isometric contractions. CONCLUSION: A single treatment of Roller Massager improves the oxygenation of the upper trapezius muscle.

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