A cohort of pain-free subjects received either chiropractic adjustments, massage or no treatment (control). Investigators used post-interventional H-reflex recordings to compare the motoneuron inhibition generated by spinal manipulation with the motoneuron inhibition generated by massage therapy.
Findings revealed that "spinal manipulation significantly attenuated alpha motoneuronal activity immediately post-therapy, as measured by the amplitude of the tibial nerve H-reflex. Massage subjects exhibited no significant reduction in motoneuronal activity immediately following administration. Spinal manipulation produced a transient attenuation of alpha motoneuronal excitability. Paraspinal and limb massage did not inhibit the motoneuron pool as measured immediately post-therapy."
"These findings support the supposition that spinal manipulation procedures lead to short-term inhibitory effects on motoneuron excitability to a greater magnitude than massage," conclude the study's authors.
Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 2001; 41:97-106.