Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/693

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THE ACTION OF MASSAGE UPON THE MUSCLES.

with the hope, then, that the tender and, indeed, sacred feelings which have been nurtured in household association will retain their dominion over us, and that the family will survive in unimpaired integrity, the fountain head of altruistic emotions, the palladium of sound morality.

 

THE ACTION OF MASSAGE UPON THE MUSCLES.
By DOUGLAS GRAHAM, M. D.

THAT "science follows art with limping strides," as so well expressed by an able physician, is perhaps nowhere oftener seen than in the various branches of the practice of medicine. Experience has taught us from time immemorial the value of massage as a nerve and muscle tonic, and, like all good things, the possibility of its overuse. But the recent experiments of Prof. Arnaldo Maggiora, of the University of Turin, so clearly and beautifully detailed in the Archives Italiennes de Biologie (tome xii, page 225), have demonstrated that this matter can be brought into the sunny light of exact science and away from the somber shades of quackery, where it has been so long relegated by the vast majority of the medical profession. Zabludowski, it is true, had in part prepared the way for this by showing that when after fatigue from a definite amount of work a rest of fifteen minutes was insufficient to restore the tired muscles to their former vigor, after massage for five minutes they were capable of doing as much work as before, and after massage for fifteen minutes they could do twice as much work as at first.

Prof. Maggiora endeavored to ascertain:

1. The action of massage upon muscles in a state of repose. For this purpose the fatigue curves of the right and left middle fingers in maximum voluntary flexion every two seconds with a weight of three kilogrammes (6·6 pounds) were taken at 8 and 11 a. m., at 2 and 5 p. m., and the following day the fatigue curves of the same muscles with the same weight and rhythm were taken after mixed massage (friction, percussion, and kneading) for three minutes at the same hours of the day. The average result showed that the muscles did almost twice as much work after massage as they did before. The average of the work without massage was 4·352 kilogrammes for the left middle finger, but after massage of the finger and forearm the average was 8·019 kilogrammes before extreme fatigue stopped further contractions. An analogous series of experiments was next made in which the electrical current was employed to tire the muscles by applying it directly to them, and also to the median nerve. The results without and with massage