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Massage Theory 
Test Questions

(These test questions and answers need to be updated and corrected.  I am also looking for more example questions to be posted here.  Contact me if you have some you would like to share or share your experience of the national exam on the bulletin board linked above.  Thanks!)

  1. The sequences and directions of Swedish massage strokes are most adapted to which anatomical situation? (a) Muscle Attachments (b) Subcutaneous adipose tissue (c) autonomic nervous system (d) lymph drainage and venous return
  2. Reflexive physiological effects (a) are generally a result of nervous system responses
  3. are directly produced by the massage therapist (c) include desquamation of dead skin cells and assisting lymphatic and venous circulation (d) are always stimulating and to be avoided

  4. The best massage stroke to be used on a chronic sprain is (a) transverse friction (b) effleurage (c) pick up (d) tapotement
  5. Lymph drainage massage procedures should begin at the (a) tendons (b) left thoracic lymph duct (c) right thoracic lymph duct (d) immune system
  6. Cross fiber friction massage must be applied in which direction to the fibers? (a) horizontal (b) at right angles (c) triangular (d) longitudinally
  7. Friction, percussion and vibration are techniques that (a) stimulate (b) relax (c) strengthen (d) weaken
  8. The kneading technique in which the practitioner attempts to grasp tissue and gently lift it away from the bone is called (a) effleurage (b) pettrissage (c) tapotement (d) pinching
  9. Pressing one superficial layer of tissue against a deeper layer of tissue to improve blood flow is called (a) rolling (b) spreading (c) friction (d) tapotement
  10. Nerve trunks and centers are sometimes chosen as sites for the application of (a) rolling (b) rocking (c) triggerpoint (d) vibration
  11. A hyper-irritable point that is painful when pressure is applied to it is called a (an) (a trigger point (b) pressure point (c) energy center (d) pain point
  12. The general effects of percussion movements are to tone muscles by (a) vibration (b) friction (c) kneading (d) hacking
  13. The ability to carry on an activity over a prolonged period of time and resist fatigue is called (a) strength (b) muscle bulk (c) endurance (d) exercise
  14. Deep strokes and kneading techniques can cause an increase in (a) vasoconstriction (b) blood flow (c) diastolic arterial pressure (d) spasm
  15. The cupping technique is best suited for (a) bronchitis (b) lung cancer (c) asthma (d) pleurisy
  16. In addition to massage, which is most helpful in increasing lymph flow? (a) exercise (b) heat (c) immobilization (d) passive movement
  17. The therapeutic benefit of friction is (a) local hyperemia (b) lymphatic drainage (c) tonification (d) none of the above
  18. The main purpose of deep cross fiber friction is to (a) separate fibers (b) lengthen fibers (c) reduce pain (d) all of the above
  19. Which is the best stroke for breaking down adhesions? (a) effleurage (b) petrissage (c) friction (d vibration
  20. The purpose of petrissage is to milk the muscle and (a) remove toxins and waste products (b) assist venous return (c) squeeze the arteries and veins (d) apply pressure to the bones
  21. Moving a joint without assistance or resistance is called (a) flexion (b) range of motion (c) extension (d) resisted movement
  22. Direct physical effects of massage techniques on the tissues they contact are called (a) reflex effects (b) pressure points (c) physiological effects (d) mechanical effects
  23. Gentle stroking, light friction and light petrissage are found to be (a) stimulating (b) reactive (c) calming (d) all of the above
  24. Variations of effleurage include (a) knuckling and stroking (b) backstroke and friction (c) pressure and brushing (d) angling and stroking
  25. Variations of petrissage include (a) one-handed petrissage (b) open and closed C (c) V hand position (d) all of the above
  26. Variations of friction massage are (a) wringing and squeezing (b) knuckling and stroking (c) cross fiber manipulation and hooking (d) hacking and squeezing C
  27. Kneading includes all of the following except (a) rolling (b) fulling (c) petrissage (d) friction
  28. Vibration is best used for (a) breaking up scar tissue (b) relieving chronic edema (c) relaxing tight muscles (d) decreasing circulation
  29. Blood Pressure generally decreases during massage because (a) the heart pumps less blood (b) venous flow is impeded (c) vasoconstriction occurs in the aorta (d) vasodilatation occurs in the peripheral arterial beds
  30. Ischemia is (a) swelling (b) pain caused by hypertonicity (c) lack of muscle tone (d) lack of blood in an area
  31. Which stroke is best used to break up subcutaneous adhesions? (a) cross fiber friction on the borders of the muscles (b) skin rolling (c) light effluerage (d) tapotement
  32. The swedish massage stroke most helpful for relieving edema is (a) light tapping proximal to the edema (b) direct pressure friction into the edema (c) effleurage proximal to the edema and going towards the trunk (d) all of the above
  33. Cross-fiber friction is most useful for (a) breaking up blood clots (b) releasing endorphins into the brain (c) spreading and broadening the muscle (d) increasing venous return
  34. The gate theory is used to explain how massage may assist in (a) lessening a client’s edema (b) decreasing a client’s pain (c) increasing a client’s ability to move a joint through facilitation activation (d) helping client get in and out the door
  35. The five basic swedish massage strokes are (a) effleurage, hacking, shaking, vibration and cupping (b) effleurage , Petrissage, squeezing, compression and swedish gymnastics (c) effleurage, petrissage, friction, vibration and tapotement (d) effleurage, petrissage, friction, cupping and hacking
  36. The three stages of inflammation are (a) cute, subacute and hypertonic (b) acute, subacute and hyperacute (c) acute, subacute and chronic (d) acute, superacute and subacute
  37. An endangerment structure in the posterior triangle is (a) the common carotid artery (b) the sciatic nerve (c) the brachial plexus (d) the median nerve
  38. The borders of the femoral triangle are (a) inguinal ligament, rectus femoris, and sartorius (b) inguinal ligament, rectus femoris and adductor longus (c) inguinal ligament, sartorius and adductor longus (d) inguinal ligament, sartorius and popliteus
  39. Friction includes (a) light and deep gliding strokes over the skin (b) direct pressure and cross-fiber and linear strokes (c) shaking and tapping (d) rubbing the skin until the client’s skin turns bright red
  40. Reciprocal inhibition refers to ( a) a clients shyness (b) the fact that one group of muscles must relax when the client makes them (c) the fact that one group of muscles must relax when the opposite group contracts (d) all of the above
  41. Hypoxia is (a) less than the normal amount of blood in an area (b) lack of oxygen (c) a contraindication for massage (c) a condition characterized by cold extremities
  42. The antagonist muscle is ( a) the group of muscles contracting (b) the group of muscles opposite the group of contracting (c) the group of muscles assisting the group of muscles contracting (d) all of the above
  43. The ability of a muscle to contract in called (a) strength (b) power (c) speed (d) endurance
  44. The piriformis may be involved with (a) anterior leg pain (b) sciatic pain (c) anterior abdominal pain (d) lateral knee pain
  45. Which of the following is true of the muscle spindle cell? (a) when stretched too far, too quickly, it causes the muscle to relax (b) when stretched too far, too quickly, it causes the muscle to contract (c) when stretched too far, too quickly, it engages the Golgi tendon organ (d) when stretched too far, too quickly, it engages the gate theory
  46. The common carotid artery is in what region? (a) posterior triangle (b) bracial region (c) anterior triangle (d) delto-pectoral triangle
  47. Which massage stroke has the least effect on blood circulation? (a) effleurage (b) petrissage (c) tapotement (d) wringing
  48. Linear friction is most useful for (a) breaking up blood clots (b) releasing endorphins into the muscle belly (c) stretching muscle fibers (d) increasing venous return
  49. Which of the following is contraindicated for effleurage? (a) very hairy skin (b) insomnia (c) pain (d) inflammation
  50. Cupping, Hacking, slapping and beating are all forms of (a) effleurage (b) friction (c) petrissage (d) tapotement
  51. Which of the following are contraindicated for tapotement? (a) insomnia (b) hypertonicity (c) hyperemia (d) hypothyroidism
  52. Which of the following strokes, if done for too long a period, can cause loss of sensation due to nervous system overload? (a) light effleurage (b) tapotement (c) petrissage (d) knuckling
  53. Nerve strokes are most often used to (a) stimulate (b) tickle (c) assist venous return (d) soothe the nervous system
  54. Tapotement can be beneficial (a) if it is applied lightly over the abdomen (b) when used over the thoracic cavity to loosen mucus in the lungs (c) to stimulate circulation (d) all of the above
  55. Effluerage has the following effects: (a) eliciting parasympathetic response (b) vasodilation (c) assisting lymph and venous flow (d) all of the above
  56. Physiological effects primarily effect which system(s)? (a) nervous (b) circulatory (c) endocrine (d) all of the above
  57. If you want to stimulate rather than relax your client, your massage strokes would be (a) vigorous (b) slow and gentle (c) deep (d) light
  58. Mechanical effects occur because (a) the endocrine system is activated (b) the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated (c) of our intent (d) we apply strokes to certain areas of the body
  59. Which structures are best massaged using petrissage? (a) joint capsules (b) muscle bellies (c) tendons (d) fingers
  60. Petrissage is contraindicated for (a) flaccid paralysis (b) hairy skin (c) pregnancy (d) ischemia
  61. The bodies ability to receive information from muscles, tendons and other structures regarding their external and internal conditions is called (a) proprioception (b) parasympathetic nervous system (c) the gate theory (d) hyperemia
  62. Reflexive physiological effects (a) are generally a result of nervous system responses (b) are directly produced by the massage therapist (c) include desquamation of dead skin cells and assisting lymphatic and venous circulation (d) are always stimulating and to be avoided


 Key to test - Test answers will vary by school!!  To purchase books to help you study for your state or national massage exam see special book section.

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