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Massage could help muscle regrowth in immobile patients

Rehabilitation of patients who are unable to exercise could be enhanced by stimulating muscles, according to US study

Massage could increase the regrowth of muscle in patients who have been immobile for long periods, researchers say.


Picture: iStock

Scientists from the University of Kentucky and Colorado State University in the US divided rats into four random groups, some of which had a hind limb suspended for 14 days.

All experienced loss of muscle mass and all were allowed to recover, with one group chosen to receive massage from a device that applied force to the muscle on alternate days for a week.

Wider benefits

Muscle mass was analysed and found to have regrown significantly faster in the massage group compared with the control group.

The team believe massage improved protein manufacture in cells and noted that while only one leg was massaged, the non-massaged leg also regrew muscle faster.

Lead investigator Esther Dupont-Versteegden said: ‘We foresee that massage could be used in situations where other treatments, such as exercise, cannot be applied.'


Miller B et al (2017) Enhanced skeletal muscle regrowth and remodelling in massaged and contralateral non-massaged hind limb. The Journal of Physiology. doi.org/10.1113/JP275089

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