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Massage Glossary of Terms

Accessory Movement - Movement that happens involuntarily to tissues in and around a joint during a normal movement.  This movement accompanies a specific movement, but those accessory movements cannot be repeated without the initial movement.

Active Myofascial Trigger Point- A focus of hyper-irritability in a muscle or its fascia that is painful.  It refers a pattern of pain at rest or during activity.  The pattern of referred pain is specific for that muscle.  An active trigger point is always painful to pressure.  The muscle is shortened in contracture or spasm and is usually in a weakened state.  It usually refers pain with sustained direct pressure.  May show signs of a local twitch response.  Often produces autonomic changes in the skin and soft tissue or surrounding tissue when stimulated.

Adaptation - the ability of an organism to change over time in response to a stimulus.

Adhesions - Abnormal adherence of collagen fibers to surrounding structures during immobilization, following trauma or as a complication of surgery which restricts normal elasticity of the structures involved.

Aerobic - "With Oxygen". Exercise during which the energy needed is supplied by the oxygen being breathed in.  An oxygen debt is not produced.  Such exercise can be continued for and extended period.

Amino Acids- The structural components of protein.  There are 20 amino acids of which 11 are termed essential.  This means that they are not produced in the body and must be obtained through the diet.  Amino acids pass unchanged from the intestines to the liver and into the general blood circulation, from which they are absorbed by each tissue as needed to make its own protein. Unused amino acids are converted into urea which is the main constituent of urine.

Amphetamine- A synthetic Central Nervous System stimulant related to epinephrine (adrenaline)

Anabolic Steroids - A group of synthetic drugs that have an anabolic (protein -building) effect on the body.  Though used by some athletes to gain muscular strength, steroids are considered dangerous because of their side-effects.

Anaerobic- "Without Oxygen".  Exercise that demands more oxygen than the heart and lungs can supply.  This an oxygen debt occurs during the short period the exercise intensity can be maintained.

Ankylosis- the severe or complete loss of movement of a joint. This can be a result of fibrous build-up or bony fusion.

Approximation - Technique used in cramp management to stimulate muscle relaxation.  Grasp the belly of the muscle on both sides of the cramp, push the muscle together, and hold until it releases.

Associated Myofascial Trigger point - A focus of irritability that has developed in response to overwork, shortening, contracture, because of referred phenomena caused by active triggerpoints in another muscle.

ATP (Adenonsine Triphospate) - a compound formed from the breakdown of food and stored in cells, especially muscles.  When it is split my enzyme action, energy is produced.  ATP is the last known chemical that is formed prior to the transfer of chemical work to mechanical work.

ATP-PC System - An anerobic energy system in which ATP is formed from the breakdown of phosphocreatine.  Muscles performing at maximal effort for 10 seconds or less obtain ATP from this system.

Atrophy - Wasting away or decrease in the size of a part due to failure, abnormality of nutrition or lack of use.

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